Inauguration of 750 MW Rewa Solar Project by PM
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Topic: General Studies 3:
In News: Clean energy projects now account for more than a fifth of India’s installed power generation capacity. India has 34.6 gigawatt of solar power and aims to have 100 GW of such capacity by 2022. To achieve this, the 750- megawatt Rewa solar Power Plant in Madhya Pradesh, was dedicated to the nation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 10.
- The plant consists of three solar power generating units that are located on a 500-hectare plot of land inside a 1,500-hectare solar park
- The solar plant was set up by the Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Limited, a joint venture between Madhya Pradesh Urja Vikas Nigam Limited and the Centre’s Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI).
- This project will reduce carbon emission equivalent to approx. 15 lakh ton of CO2 per year, which is equivalent to planting 26 million trees.
- First project to get funding from Clean Technology Fund (CTF) in India
- Three tier payment security Mechanism – First time in India
- World Bank funded first solar park in India
- The Rewa Project has been acknowledged in India and abroad for its robust project structuring and innovations. Its payment security mechanism for reducing risks to power developers has been recommended as a model to other states by MNRE
- The 750-MW solar plant is quite large in terms of scale, and is expected to reduce the country’s emission drastically, by an amount equivalent to 15 lakh tonne of carbon dioxide annually.
But while it is one of the largest single-site solar power plants in India, it is not the largest in Asia. The distinction of the world’s second largest photovoltaic power station goes to the Bhadla Solar Park, with a capacity of 2,245 MW, in Jodhpur district in Rajasthan, and the Pavagada Solar Park in Tumkur district, Karnataka, which has a capacity of 2,050 MW.
Components of the plant
The project has three units of 250 MW each. The process of reverse auction in bidding for projects was tried for first time in India for this project, with Mahindra Renewables, ACME Solar Holdings, and Solengeri Power emerging as the winners for the project’s three units at tariffs of Rs 2.979, Rs 2.970, and Rs 2.974, respectively, for the first year.
International Finance Corporation, a World Bank group company, has invested close to $440 million or Rs 2,800 crore in the project and Power Grid Corporation of India has developed the 220/400 KV inter-state transmission system under green corridor to facilitate evacuation of power from the project site to consumers.
Who will buy power from the project?
Rewa project is also the first solar project to sell power across state borders. It highlighted the importance of signing long-term Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) in the solar sector, just like those signed for thermal power plants, to make the projects competitive.
- This is the first solar project in India where different categories of customers have contracted to buy power — Madhya Pradesh Power Management Company Limited (which will get 76 per cent of the power from the plant) and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC being an open access consumer).
- It is also the first project to get funding from The World Bank and Clean Technology Fund in India.
The Way Forward
- The massive solar parks which have come in over the last few years in India are a testimony to India’s ambitions and the changing business dynamics. Bhadla (Rajasthan, 2250 MW), Pavagada (Karnataka, 2050 MW), Orvakal (Andhra Pradesh, 1000 MW) and Kamuthi (Tamil Nadu, 648 MW) are already in different stages of operation. There is also a healthy competition between States to conceptualise and commission new projects, which bodes well for the growth of the sector in the country.
- Apart from the untapped potential of rooftop solar, another area which the government can use to drive long term solar adoption is agriculture. The central government has been looking to dedicate about 8 GW of installed solar capacity to agricultural feeders. This has been talked about for a while, but concrete
Connecting the Dots:
- Why is the Rewa plant being considered critical to India’s Solar Energy endeavours? Explain.
- With favourable tropical geography, huge domestic demand, and high export potential, India can be a world leader in the field of tapping and utilising solar energy. Do you agree? What are the challenges? Discuss.