West Bengal gets India’s largest solar power project

June 22nd, 2008 - 7:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Asansol (West Bengal), June 22 (IANS) The country’s first grid-connected 2 MW solar power project will start functioning here from December, West Bengal Green Energy Development Corp (WBGEDC) managing director S.P. Gon Choudhuri said Sunday. Laying the foundation stone of the photovoltaic plant, Choudhuri said: “West Bengal is the first state in India to undertake a solar power project of such a scale.”

The WBGEDC is executing the Rs.400 million ($9.5 million) project at the Dishergarh Power Station Complex (DPSC) in this Burdwan district town of southern West Bengal. The company is planning to take Rs.309 million loan from Power Finance Corp (PFC) for the project.

Choudhuri said West Bengal started working on solar energy since 1983 with the first plant generating 30 watt.

“After 25 years, we now have the capacity to generate 2 MW from solar energy from a single project,” he added.

“DPSC, which has provided a little over eight acres for the plant, will buy the entire generation of about three million units per year at Rs.5 per unit. The central government will pay a generation-based incentive of Rs.10 per unit,” Choudhuri said.

The central incentive would offset the entire PFC loan over 10 years, he added.

He said states like Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat have shown interest in setting up similar projects. “They have asked the WBGEDC to help them with detailed project report and regulatory measures so that they can replicate such projects in their states.”

Expressing optimism about the future of green energy, Choudhuri said by 2030 India would require 800,000 MW of power, of which a maximum of 500,000 to 600,000 MW would come from conventional, nuclear and hydel sources.

West Bengal Power Minister Mrinal Banerjee said the state has received a proposal to set up a 1,000 tonne per annum polysilicon plant. Polysilicon, when used in a solar power plant, will have the capability to generate 1,200 MW solar power.

New and Renewable Energy Secretary V. Subramanian said although the cost of producing green power was quite high now, it would be at par with conventional energy costs by 2017.

The WBGEDC is promoted by the state government for promotion and development of grid-connected renewable sources of energy. It is implementing renewable energy programmes of the central and state governments.

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