R-Power’s Dahanu solar power plant starts supply to Maharashtra

Reliance Power’s photovoltaic solar power plant in Jaisalmer district, Rajasthan, has started commercial operations to provide electricity to thousands of households and businesses in Maharashtra. Under the power purchase agreement, the entire power generated by this plant would be supplied to Maharashtra.

The plant is located, 180 km in the West of Jodhpur, and has one of the highest levels of solar irradiation in the country. "Reliance Power’s Dahanu solar plant in Rajasthan has been connected with the national grid and started supplying power," Director of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Private Sector Operations Department, Michael Barrow said here.

"The 40-megawatt plant is expected to produce more than 60 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year, enough to light up more than 70,000 average Indian households, while avoiding more than 60,000 metric tons of harmful carbon dioxide emissions per year," he said.

The $ 147.5 million Dahanu plant, near the village of Dhursar in the Jaisalmer district, is one of the largest such units in the country. ADB has provided $ 48 million loan for this project. It is also lending $ 103 million to Reliance Power to help build the Rajasthan Concentrating Solar Power Project, which will be located adjacent to the Dahanu plant.

The arid, barren landscape of this part of the state was found to be an ideal location for the 350-acre plant that comprises 500,000 solar panels. It has more than 500,000 ground-mounted photovoltaic thin-film modules, which were procured from First Solar.

Concentrated solar power and photovoltaic solar power are different methods of generating electricity from the energy of the sun. The Indian government is looking to develop both the methods. The Dahanu plant is part of ADB’s goal of developing, financing, or commissioning 3,000 MW of solar energy generation capacity in Asia by May 2013.

ADB’s Asia Solar Energy Initiative is aimed at helping to ensure that the region’s demand for energy is met in a way that is environmentally sustainable. In addition to the two plants, ADB is supporting the development of a solar park in Charanka in Gujarat by financing a transmission line and substation to evacuate power.

The multilateral agency has also set up a financing facility to provide partial credit guarantees to lenders willing to fund solar power projects of up to 25 MW. That facility is designed to help reduce risk for the private sector, and to mobilise long-term funding for solar energy development.