According to reports, the state energy minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak demanded that Centre should provide subsidy to power distributing companies (discoms) for buying costlier solar power, otherwise consumers in the state would be burdened with higher electricity bills.
“The state consumers are unwilling to pay for high cost solar power. The government of India should subsidise solar power purchase by discoms,” he said at the inaugural function of a solar power plant near Khurda.
The 1 MW capacity plant is a project of mineral business house MGM Group and is set up under the Rooftop PV Small Solar Generation Programme (RPSSGP), floated by the Union Ministry for New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
According to Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) order, Gridco has to buy solar power at Rs 18.52 per unit from plants built under the RPGGSP scheme, much higher than solar projects outside the scheme which are providing power at less than Rs 8 per unit.
The state energy minister also added that Central government-managed Renewable Energy Fund should also be put to better use for creation of infrastructure in the state.
Farooq Abdulla, the Union minister for new and renewable energy, who inaugurated the power plant, said, the Centre was ready to provide all support to upgrade basic infrastructure to boost consumption of unconventional energy in the states.
“The Central government is ready to provide all kind of supports for renewable energy. In Tamil Nadu, where most of the windmills do not have grid connectivity, I have proposed to fund the grid network connections there,” he said.
According to a study carried out by OERC, Orissa has the potential to generate about 5,000 MW solar power and around 2,000 MW wind power. The energy minister said Orissa has relatively less solar installation as compared with Rajasthan and Gujarat, and should be given proportionately higher allocation.
Orissa was scheduled to generate 8 MW solar power under RPGGSP and 20 MW under Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. Currently, Gridco is availing 13 MW solar power from nine units and by the end of 2012-13, it will be adding another 25 Mw, said Nayak. Orissa Renewable Energy Development Authority (OREDA) has already selected Kolkata-based Alex Astral Power to set up 25 MW solar power plant somewhere in Bolangir.