Gujarat to generate 500 MW solar energy

In a major boost to Gujarat’s ambition to emerge as the solar power hub of the country, more than 500 MW of solar energy generation capacity is expected to become operational in the state in the next two weeks or so, a senior government official said.

According to officials, 175 MW of solar power generation capacity has already been commissioned. A further 128 MW is ready for commissioning, but is waiting for evacuation facilities, which are expected to be in place in next few days.

"The state has taken the lead in tapping solar energy to generate power. Almost 300 MW of solar power generation capacity has been commissioned or is ready for commissioning," DJ Pandian, principal secretary, energy & petrochemicals department, told DNA.

The solar power generation capacity already commissioned or ready for commissioning in the state is already significantly higher than the total solar power generation capacity installed in the whole country. "This is no mean achievement," Pandian said.

Pandian said that work on a further 200 – 250 MW of solar power generation capacity was in advanced stages and was expected to be commissioned by January 28, 2012, the last day of the control period. A few units in the Charanka Solar Park, where over 500 MW of power generation capacity has been planned, have also started operations, while some more are in the pipeline, he said.

The Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL) had signed power purchase agreements for 968.5 MW of solar power. For projects commissioned by December 31, 2011, the tariff was fixed at Rs15 per unit for first 12 years and Rs5 per unit from the 13th to 25th year. However, the control period was extended from December 31, 2011, to January 28, 2012, by the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC).