Separate policy to aid PSUs in solar sector on the cards

To cater to the increase in interest among public sector undertakings (PSUs) to set up solar/wind power projects, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is considering a separate scheme/policy for PSUs.

“There is a lot of interest and these are cash-rich companies, so there is a proposal for a separate scheme under which public sector companies can invest. However, it is still in the discussion stage,” said Bharath Reddy, senior manager (PV), Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), a government body set up to promote solar power development in India.

Almost every PSU has plans for wind and solar projects–more solar than wind. Companies like ONGC, BHEL, NTPC are investing big bucks to get into renewable energy. While projects by private power producers are in capacities of about 50MW or 100 MW, PSUs are working on large plans.

“PSUs can be a great push for solar, with the kind of balance sheet and bandwidth they have, they can set up big plants in the range of 500-1000 MW in a quick span of time. Many of the PSUs and other government entities are sitting on huge land banks and utilising them for setting up solar power plants can be a great idea,” Anil Jain, managing director, Refex Energy Ltd, said.

While actual work on the ground is not consistent with grandiose plans, there is activity nevertheless.

NTPC Ltd has commissioned about 10 MW of solar projects and has 100MW more under execution. It has has signed agreements for setting up wind energy projects of about 700 MW. Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) is working on setting up two 10 MW solar plants, and is soon set to commission a 50 MW wind farm.

NTPC is targeting a total of 1,000 MW capacity through renewable energy sources by 2017, and NLC is looking at about 300 MW over the next two years. BHEL too has commissioned about 7 MW in the country.

The biggest of the PSU projects is the 4,000MW, 6-PSU project in Rajasthan, which, if it comes, will be the world’s largest single location solar project. BHEL, SECI, SSL (Sambhar Salt Ltd), PGCIL (Power Grid Corporation of India), SJVNL (Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam) and REIL (Rajasthan Electronics & Instruments Limited) are part of this venture.

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