Azure Power plans Rs.150 crore solar plant in Meghalaya

February 12th, 2011 - 9:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Shillong, Feb 12 (IANS) American solar power producer Azure Power Saturday announced plans for setting up of a 10 megawatt plant at an investment of Rs.150 crore in Meghalaya - a power deficit state. The company has identified Meghalaya’s West Garo Hills and Ri-Bhoi districts as the two potential areas to set up the solar plant, the first one in India’s northeastern states.

“Our proposals have been submitted to the government (Meghalaya) and negotiations are on. Once the government agrees, we would sign a memorandum of understanding and subsequently the power purchase agreement with them,” company chairman H.S. Wadhwa told journalists.

The International Finance Corporation, the private financing arm of the World Bank, will provide funds of Rs.150 crore to Azure Power, the first private megawatt-scale power developer in India, Wadhwa said.

“The solar energy plant is a viable project to be set up as solar power is in abundance in Meghalaya. Therefore, we have come to Meghalaya with a proposal to set up a proposal to set up a solar power plant to generate environment-friendly and pollution-free power energy,” he said.

Meghalaya has earned the dubious distinction of having the highest electricity deficit in the country at 32 percent.

Till a decade ago, Meghalaya generated surplus power and sold it to neighbouring states. But today, the state shells out about Rs.20 crore for purchasing power every month.

The situation may not improve in the near future as many of the hydel power projects under construction are running behind schedule.

In fact, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma recently told journalists that government decided to consider use of solar energy in street lights in urban areas in a bid to conserve energy.

“We have decided to make mandatory use of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs in all government and government-aided buildings in the state to save power,” Sangma said.

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