The Union Shipping Ministry, in an effort to reduce the carbon footprint of 13 major public ports, is planning to set up solar power projects with up to 200 MW capacity.

The Indian Ports Association (IPA) will do the project planning while the ports will finance the plants through internal accruals and debt that could include dollar-denominated loans. So far, major ports have already commissioned 16 MW of solar and 6 MW of wind power projects.

Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman of IPA and Mumbai Port Trust, said the IPA is looking at sites for the plants. The power could be produced at one site and then wheeled to all the ports. Various possibilities are being explored, including using surplus port land and buying land cheaply.

A committee will explore options for the solar project and prepare its report in a month. The IPA has already signed an MoU with Solar Energy Corporation of India for project management consultancy. Under this initiative, 110 MW of solar potential has been identified at seven major ports.

At Mumbai port, which requires about 20 MW of electricity, the management is looking beyond captive consumption.