When the Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park, the world’s largest solar power park, is fully ready by the end of May, Andhra Pradesh would have buttressed its position as the leading solar power generator in the country. Of the Kurnool Park’s total capacity of 1000 MW, 900 MW has already been commissioned.
“We are generating 1867.23 MW of solar power, which is the highest in the country. Rajasthan is second with 1812 MW capacity, followed by Telangana (1287 MW) and Gujarat (1250 MW). Our target is to produce 10,000 MW of solar power by the year 2022,” says Ajay Jain, principal secretary (energy and infrastructure). Prior to the commissioning of the Kurnool Solar Park, the Kamuthi plant in Tamil Nadu was the world’s largest, with installed solar capacity of 648 MW, followed by the Topaz Solar Farm in California (550 MW).
The Kurnool park, which cost $1 bn to set up, has come up over an area of 5,811 acres, with Greenko (500 MW), Soft Bank Energy (350 MW), Azure Power (100 MW) and Prayatna Developers (Adani group) (50 MW) as the joint developers. The park will produce 2,600 million units of power per annum. The Union government has granted `200 crore for the project.
Tapping the state’s huge solar power potential — 38.5 GW as per NISE (National Institute of Solar Energy) — is part of the AP government’s plan to meet the growing demand for power in an environmentally sustainable manner. The average insulation in the Rayalaseema region is 5.5-6.0 kWh/sq m/day and can easily translate into PLF of 22-24% with the use of latest technology. The state has taken the lead in solar capacity, adding 1320 MW in FY 2016-17, and its cumulative capacity stood at 1867 MW as on March 31, 2017. In FY 2016-17, 12.5 % of the total energy purchased by AP discoms was of renewable origin — 2.8% from solar and 9.7% from non-solar sources.
As per Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) guidelines, the state government has set up the AP Solar Power Corporation Ltd (APSPCL) for establishment of solar parks — it is the first nodal agency formed in India for the purpose. APSPCL is a JV company in which Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) with 50% equity, APGENCO with 41% equity and NREDCAP with 9% equity are partners.
MNRE had initially sanctioned two solar parks with a total capacity of 2,500 MW for the state — the Ananthapuramu Ultra Mega Solar Park (1,500 MW) and the Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park. The ministry has since sanctioned two more solar parks with a total capacity of 1,500 MW — the Kadapa Ultra Mega Solar Park (1,000 MW) and the Ananthapuramu-II Ultra Mega Solar Park (500 MW) — thereby increasing the state’s total solar capacity to 4,000 MW. Of the 26743.43 acres of land identified for the four solar parks, 92% has been acquired. The effective tariff for discoms would be around Rs 4.00 per kWh.
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Andhra now produces 6,052 MW power from non-conventional sources, including 3,600 MW from wind energy. “We are ranked fifth in the country in wind power generation and plan to upgrade the capacity to 8,000 MW by 2022. AP will be contributing 10% of the wind and solar energy out of the Centre’s renewable target of 175 GW by 2022,” Jain says. A world-class energy university is being established with special focus on renewable energy, he adds.
– By Mahalaskshmi