February 22

Maharashtra power utility gets additional 1,000 MW cheap solar power

Nagpur: After tying up for 1,000MW solar power at the rate of Rs 2.71 and Rs 2.72 per unit in 2018, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co Ltd (MSEDCL) will now sign power purchase agreements (PPAs) for another 1,000MW cheap solar power. It has received bids for this quantum at Rs 2.74 and Rs 2.75 per unit. This purchase will prevent increase in power tariff in the coming years.

An MSEDCL spokesperson said the discom had floated tender for buying 1,000MW solar power recently. “Seven companies offered 1,900MW at rates ranging from Rs 2.85 to Rs 2.90 per unit. Through reverse auction, we were able to secure 1,000MW for Rs 2.74 and Rs 2.75 per unit,” he added.

The successful bidders are: Shiv Solar 50MW (Rs 2.74 per unit), ACME Solar Holdings 300MW (Rs 2.74), Renew Solar Power 300MW (Rs 2.75) and Avaada Energy 350MW (Rs 2.75).

Energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule has launched a green energy drive and the MSEDCL is going for solar power in a big way. Currently, it is buying 1,000MW solar power but within two years this figure will reach 7,000MW. As the cost of solar power is far lower than coal and gas fired thermal power, the tariff will not increase in coming years.  

Mahagenco is setting up projects to sell 750MW solar power to MSEDCL. In addition, Maharashtra Energy Development Agency is installing solar panels atop government buildings, schools, public health centres etc in a big way. Bawankule has also allowed individual consumers to go solar.

Recently, Bawankule had directed the MSEDCL to set up solar projects with 3,200MW capacity in the state in two years. Chief engineers in each of the 16 zones of the discom have been directed to ensure setting up of 200MW projects under their respective jurisdictions.

In addition, the MSEDCL has floated tender for supplying solar power to agricultural feeders and is also distributing solar farm pumps to farmers. Bawankule wants entire agricultural load to go solar by 2025.

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