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Four companies in fray for solar rooftop project in Gandhinagar

According to reports, in a first of its kind project by a state government, the Government of Gujarat is setting up 5 megawatt (Mw) of solar power generation capacities on a pilot basis using rooftops of the commercial, residential and government buildings in Gandhinagar. Four companies including SunEdison, Lanco Infratech Limited, Azure Power and Mahindra Solar have submitted their bids, which are likely to be opened in a week’s time.

Two bidders will be selected for the project and will be awarded 2.5 Mw each for building and operating the rooftop solar photovoltaic (SPV) systems for a period of 25 years. The total cost of the public private partnership (PPP) project for setting up of 5 Mw rooftop solar power units is estimated at around Rs 100 crore.

Gandhinagar (Solar) Photovoltaic Rooftop Programme, a part of the national solar power mission, aims to set up SPV systems on the rooftops and terraces of civil structures in the state capital. The SPV systems will directly convert solar energy into the electrical energy and feed into the electricity grid system.

“Initially, over 40 solar developers including domestic and foreign players had shown interest for the project. However, only four companies have submitted their bids for the project. The bids will be opened in a week’s time and two of the successful bidders will be awarded the project,” informed a source at Gujarat Energy Research and Management Institute (GERMI), a nodal agency to promote solar power in state. GERMI is also the process coordinator for the bids.

Under the pilot project, the state government will provide access to around 50 building rooftops, totalling a solar power generation to the tune of 4 Mw, while about 500 households will be tied up to generate solar power worth 1 Mw.

Property owners in Gandhinagar town will get encouragement to participate in green energy generation by offering their rooftop or terrace for installation of solar photovoltaic system for solar power generation. The owner of property will be paid a “Green Incentive,” which shall be based on the units (kWh) of electricity generated by the SPV system installed on their property, a state government notification informed.

“The electricity generated from the rooftop SPV systems, would be purchased by Torrent Power for a 25-year period. We will be charging full cost to Torrent Power, the electricity supplier to Gandhinagar town. In order to encourage household property owners, the state government would pay Rs 3 per unit to the property owners,” said H S Wadhwa, chairman, Azure Power.

Azure power is one of the bidders for the project. “Each successful bidder will be allotted 2.5 Mw of generation capacities, of which 2 Mw would be set up on government buildings, while 0.5 Mw will be set up on residential rooftops. The rooftop solar panels will comprise of photovoltaic films depending on the available area and intensity of solar heat,” Wadhwa added. The company already has a 10 Mw solar power unit operational in Sabar Kantha district in north Gujarat.

The rooftop solar project, is considered as a major step towards green and clean energy development. Rooftops would provide huge potential for solar power generation, as developers find land availability a major concern. Similarly, government incentives for property owners will encourage more participation going forward.

On successful implementation of the pilot project in Gandhinagar, the state government is looking to replicate similar model in other parts of the state including cities like, Surat and Rajkot.

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