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Rajasthan may attract Rs 45k crore in solar power

JAIPUR: If things move in right direction, Rajasthan is set to bask in the sunshine. The desert state is likely to attract an investment of Rs 45000 crore in the solar energy sector.

Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation chairman and managing director Naresh Pal Gangwar told ET that 72 power companies have registered with the corporation for the generation of 2500 MW in the solar energy sector.

“We have received proposals from companies like Reliance Industries Limited, Par Solar, Jindal Power, GVK Power and Infrastructure Limited, Moser Baer Photovoltaic Limited and Zoom Developers for setting up solar plants in the state.

We will take up these projects as per the guidelines of the recently announced Jawahar Lal Nehru Solar Mission,” he said.

The state government has already sanctioned projects worth 66 MW distributed between 11 companies. “The applications have already been forwarded to Rajasthan Energy Regulatory Commission (RERC) for fixing the tariff.

After that, these companies will start setting up their respective plants across the districts of Barmer, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Jodhpur. These plants will be based on different technologies like solar photo-voltaic, solar thermal and thin film, etc,” he said.

Apart from that, Reliance Industries Limited and Par Solar are setting up solar plants of 5 MW each in Nagaur and Jodhpur respectively.

RIL has already signed up power purchase agreement with three three-power companies of Rajasthan - Jaipur Discom, Ajmer Discom and Jodhpur Discom.

Jaipur Discom chairman RG Gupta said that the agreement is first of its kind to tap the solar energy for the benefit of consumers in the state.

"According to the agreement, RIL will get Rs 15.78 per unit. The power purchase rate would be Rs 3.67 for 10 years while Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) will pay Rs 11.33 per unit as per the directives of Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission (RERC) to promote solar green energy. Apart from that, the discoms will pay 78 paise per unit to the power generation company," he said.

The state receives the highest solar radiation in the country. According to an estimate, there is a whopping 1.5 lakh MW untapped potential of solar energy in this part of the country. “The only snag so far, is the high energy generation cost of this mode. But once the plants start functioning, the cost of solar energy may decrease to the likes of conventional energy - thermal and hydel,” Mr Gangwar said.

Power generation from solar energy is prohibitively expensive. The cost per megawatt in case of solar power comes to around Rs 18 crore while in case of wind power it is Rs 5 crore and Rs 4 crore in case of thermal power.

“The per unit cost of generation is also high at Rs 15 in case of solar power plant compared to Rs 3 per unit in conventional electricity. Over a period of time, solar energy would be the most cost-effective as its operational cost is extremely low,” he said.
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