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Maharashtra plans 4 more solar plants of 200 MW by 2015

According to reports, the Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (Mahagenco) is planning to set up four more solar power plants in the State with a total capacity of about 200 MW by 2015.

The company is currently executing a 150 MW solar power project at Sakri town in Dhule district. Work on this project began last May.

The proposed solar plants will come up in districts of Beed, Sangli, Parbhani and Osmanabad, which have good solar radiation and almost 300 days of sunshine.

The local district administration has been ordered to find suitable land parcels for setting up the projects.

A senior Maharashtra Government official said as land acquisition has become a major challenge in Maharashtra, therefore non-cultivable lands are being surveyed for acquisition. Preference would be given to 100 hectare plots, which are fully owned by the government.

All the power produced by the plants would be bought by the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (Mahadiscom) without any preconditions. This will also ensure that Mahadiscom meets the mandatory requirement of sourcing power from renewable sources, the official said.

The rising demand for power and delays in setting up conventional thermal coal plants is pushing the government to look for non-conventional energy resources for power generation.

Mahagenco will examine the feasibility of using either thin film or crystalline based photovoltaic technology for the plants.

The Executive Director at KPMG, Mr Arvind Mahajan, said that there is a good potential to produce solar power in Maharashtra, as many areas have solar radiation, comparable to those in Rajasthan, “But what is required is good State level solar policy, which can encourage private sector to put up solar power plants in Maharashtra. Gujarat and Rajasthan already have policy in place, which is attracting investments,” he said.

Last year Sakri project had hit a major hurdle as the State Forest Department had claimed ownership of the project site. However, the State Government settled the issue and construction work has already begun, the official added.

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