In a first of its kind venture, six public sector undertakings (PSUs) including state-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) on Wednesday announced joining hands to set up world’s largest 4,000 MW ultra mega solar power project in Rajasthan.

"The MoU signed today will be put up for Cabinet approval and then things will move forward at a fast pace. The land is already there and the basic infrastructure like roads is also available at the site. We hope to get cracking on the project after the approval," Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Praful Patel said at the pact signing ceremony in New Delhi.

Also present on the occasion was the New and Renewable Energy Minister, Farooq Abdullah who termed it as a giant step towards unleashing a revolution for achieving bigger goals in solar energy.

According to BEHL chairman and managing director, B.P. Rao, in the first phase of the project, 1000 MW would be made operational. The project will be the largest single location solar plant spread across 19,000 acres at Sambhar in Rajasthan. It entails an investment of Rs. 7,500 crore in the first phase. A special purpose vehicles (SPV) in shape of a joint venture company would be set up for the project.

The JV will have equity of 26 per cent from BHEL, 23 per cent from SECI (Solar Energy Corporation of India), 16 per cent from SSL (Sambhar Salt Ltd), 16 per cent from PGCIL, 16 per cent from SJVNL (Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam) and 3 per cent from REIL (Rajasthan Electronics & Instruments Limited).

The project will come up on surplus land available with SSL in Sambhar. The equipment will be supplied by BHEL, power evacuation infrastructure will be put up by PGICL, sale of electricity would be done by SECI, operation and maintenance by REIL and project management by SJVNL. The project will be developed in different phases in 7 to 8 years.

The solar PV (photo-voltaic) power plant will use PV modules based on crystalline silicon technology. With an estimated plant life of 25 years, the 4,000 MW of the solar plant is expected to supply 6,400 million units of energy per year and consequently help to reduce CO2 emissions by over 4 million tonnes per year.

Mr. Patel added that Hindustan Salt has 20,000 acre land in Gujarat, where it has been proposed to set up a solar and wind power project of 4,000 MW or more.

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