To light up over 500 homes and a few coal mines in Asansol district.

The capital cost of the plant works out to Rs 18 crore per MW as of July 2008 rates. The cost of generating electricity is Rs 15 per kWh.

M. Somasekhar

Hyderabad, Nov. 14 The country’s first megawatt-scale solar electric power plant has been commissioned in Jamuria, West Bengal, and connected to the grid by Titan Energy Systems.

The renewable energy plant is expected to power over 500 homes and a few coal mines in the Asansol district. Electricity from the unit is being fed into the power grid of utility provider DPSC Ltd, Seebpore, Asansol.

Hyderabad-based Titan Energy designed and built the power plant for the West Bengal Energy Development Corporation Ltd (WBEDCL).

The capacity of the unit is slightly over 1 MW and 250 kW would be added early next year, said Mr Rao S.Y.S. Chodagam, Managing Director. The capital cost of the plant works out to Rs 18 crore per MW as of July 2008 rates. On the other hand, the cost of generating electricity is Rs 15 per kWh, the company said.

In comparison, the price for other sources of electricity paid by the utility in West Bengal ranges between Rs 3 and Rs 4.50 per unit.

The Ministry for New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is giving a special tariff of Rs 15 per unit for 10 years for this project from August 29.

Titan has used the latest photovoltaic (PV) modules built using the patented monocrystalline cells from its partner, Suniva.

The project took about five months for completion and the plant was commissioned recently, Mr Rao told Business Line.

The installed capacity of Titan Energy across the country is 100 MW.

It is augmenting its PV module production to achieve a manufacturing capacity of 500 MW, with a proposed unit in the FabCity on the outskirts of Hyderabad, he added.

With an eye on the growing potential for solar power units, Titan also plans to deliver utility scale power project in the country exceeding 1,000 MW by 2015.

The company has tied up with Enfinity of Belgium to set up a large electricity generating plant in Kadiri, Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.

The Managing Director of WBEDCL, Dr S.P. Gon Chaudhuri, who was instrumental in pushing the project, said, “In spite of several difficulties envisaged enroute, the corporation managed to swim through and make it (the Jamuria unit) happen as the first (solar electric power plant) in the country.”

The West Bengal Government has also come up with a slew of incentives to promote solar energy initiatives in the State, including a lucrative tariff and subsidy.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated November 15, 2009)
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