According to reports, the National Solar Mission, which aims to install 20,000 MW capacity of solar energy by 2020, has commissioned 89% of its allotted capacity in its first stage, government officials said.
The government had signed power purchase agreements (PPA) with 28 solar power developers for 140-MW solar photo voltaic (PV) projects in January 2011, out of which 125-MW of capacity stands commissioned currently.
“The progress so far is very good as most of the projects are commissioned. The delayed projects have been given one month extension with a part of their bank guarantee encashed,” said Tarun Kapoor, joint secretary, ministry of new and renewable energy.
For solar thermal sector, power purchase agreements were signed for 27 projects for a capacity of 470 MW in batch 1. They would be commissioned by May 2013.
NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN), which executes the bidding and trades power with the developers, is satisfied with the result, which, it says could have been 100% if hiccups like allegations against Lanco and delays by some other developers had not taken place. “We are now stricter than before with the mission guidelines and will work more closely with the developers of batch 2,” said a senior official of NVVN.
One of the major participating companies in the mission, Lanco Infratech recently faced allegations irregularities such as creating front companies. The investigative report on the matter will soon be presented, officials said.
“We expect to place it in a week or two. Our investigation concludes that the company did flout some guidelines but there is no scam as such, but we are more cautious with the batch 2 now,” said Kapoor.
The solar PV projects under batch 2 of phase 1, with the selected capacity of 340 MW, signed the PPA in January this year and will commission by February 2013. These projects are highly awaited as this round of bidding saw some big names in the solar energy market quoting tariffs as low as Rs 7.49/unit.
“The projects under batch 2 are under construction and we are hopeful that they will start commissioning in time,” said Kapoor. The ministry also hopes to achieve grid parity in next five years. Mission statement has set a target to achieve 20,000 MW of solar generated power by 2020.
The total installed capacity of solar generated power in the country stands at 503.9 MW so far. The total investment, as estimated by the ministry is about Rs 6,000 crore.