By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, April 24, 2018: More than 50 companies evinced interest in setting up Grid connected solar power projects in Odisha, which recently cleared a plan by North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) to invest Rs 9.44 billion to set up a 200-Mw solar power plant.

The state’s bulk power trader Grid Corporation of Odisha (GRIDCO) recently invited bids for 200-Mw of grid-connected solar power projects. Companies like Acme, ReNew Power, Tata Power, IBC Solar, Sahara Power, Essel Group and Adani Green Energy have already evinced interest.

The project is planned to be developed in a non-solar park model, where bidders are given a free hand to choose their land. The capacity may be allotted to bidders with lowest tariffs determined under the competitive bidding process followed by e-reverse auction.

Gridco will enter into a power-purchase agreement (PPA) with the successful bidder for 25 years from the date commercial operations begin.

The state has been asked to achieve a cumulative solar target of 2,378 Mw under the national target of 100 Gw of solar power by 2022 and with this project, the state is expected to achieve the target, officials said adding that the unit is scheduled to start operations in December 2019.

It has also provided in-principle clearance for 250 Mw solar power project proposed by NLC India Ltd (formerly Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited) at the cost of Rs 45 million per Mw. The government has also offered to sign a PPA with NLC.

The latest tariff rate in Odisha for solar is Rs 4.5 per Mw under a scheme of the new and renewable energy ministry.

Recently, Essel Green Energy, part of the Subash Chandra-owned Essel Group, won bulk of the 270-Mw tender for solar capacity at Odisha floated by the Solar Energy Corporation of India. Essel Green Energy was awarded 240 Mw, Jyoti Infrastructure bagged 10 Mw and IBC Solar Ventures bagged 20 Mw from the tender.

Private sector interest in Odisha’s solar power sector had not seen enough traction till now as opposed to central PSUs that have been interested in putting up projects in the state. After NTPC, NLC and NEEPCO, SJVN, a mini-Ratna PSU, has also evinced interest in participating in the state’s solar park programme.

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