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Tata Power to commission a 3MW Solar PV in Maharashtra by September; Plans 50MW Solar PV Capacity in Gujarat

Tata Power is India’s largest private power utility. The company has generation capacities in Mumbai, Delhi, Jojobera, Jharkhand and Karnataka. Tata Power has an installed power generation capacity of about 3000 Mega Watts, with the Mumbai power business, which has a unique mix of Thermal and Hydro Power, generated at the Thermal Power Station, Trombay, and the Hydro Electric Power Stations at Bhira, Bhivpuri and Khopoli, accounting for 1797 MW. Tata Power has installed and commissioned India’s first 500 MW unit (at its Thermal Power Generating Station, Trombay) the 150 MW Pumped Storage Unit at its Hydro Generating Station, Bhira.

According to this report, the company will open its solar power account later this year, when it commissions a 3MW PV plant at Mulshi in Maharashtra by September.

India’s Tata Power plans 50MW solar PV capacity in Gujarat

..India’s Tata Power  plans to install 50MW of solar PV capacity in Gujarat to meet its target of having 30% of total capacity from “no-carbon power” by 2017, said Banmali Agrawala, the executive director of the company.

..It is also planning to set up two PV power plants with 25MW of capacity each at the site of its group company Tata Chemicals (TTCH IN) at Mithapur in Gujarat. “We are planning to set up one plant under the state’s policy and one through the National Solar Mission,” Agrawala said. The capital cost per MW will be around INR 160m (USD 3.39m), he added.

..While the incentives are better under the National Solar Mission, which seeks to bring India’s solar power capacity to 20GW by 2022, Agrawala, who is responsible for business development and strategy in the company, said that they may be able to move faster under the state policy.

..He said that solar thermal may be not be the best option for India as it is water-intensive and requires substantial sunshine-rich land. “I would suggest caution with large-scale thermal, given the large requirement of water and of sunshine-rich land, which raises the possibility of conflict with agriculture,” he said.

..Agrawala said that his views are not influenced by the interests of group company Tata BP Solar (3569461Z IN) which makes solar PV cells and modules. “That is not the point. Even in PV, we are free to look at other options of suppliers,” he said.

On the wind power side, the company has an installed capacity of about 200MW. “We plan to add 100MW to 150MW of wind capacity every year,” he said.

..Tata Power also has a presence in the geothermal energy space through its equity stake in Australia’s Geodynamics. It also has an agreement with the Gujarat state government to explore geothermal potential.

In a February 2010 presentation to analysts, the company said that it would focus on the top three renewable technologies of solar, geothermal and wind.

Tata Power as an experienced project developer has identified the key challenges and opportunities in the RE space in project execution. They do not have a focus on biomass based projects due to the acute scarcity of biomass feedstock at a reasonable price. With respect to Solar Thermal, they have enough experience with respect to water that they have identified and acknowledged it as a key challenge and of course anything that poses a challenge to agriculture will face tough challenges from a clearances and approvals perspective.

Further, they have acknowledged that in spite of better tariffs under JNNSM they are intending to go ahead with the Gujarat Solar Policy as that is faster and intend to go with the JNNSM for the next 25MW.

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