Even about a month ago, it looked as if the State government’s Solar Energy Policy was able to attract only a modest number of project proposals with capacity of 260 MW.
But, in the last few weeks, the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) received letters of commitment from many developers for capacity addition or fresh projects to such an extent that eventually, the quantum of capacity of projects rose almost two-and-a-half times.
At 5 p.m. on Friday when the deadline for submission of proposals ended, 23 more developers formally conveyed their willingness to put up new projects. Along with proposals for capacity addition, the total quantum of capacity rose to 690 MW.
Till early this month, the number of developers sanctioned was 30. Now, the Corporation has issued Letters of Intent (LoI) to a total of 53 developers.
If one were to take into account the benchmark capital cost of Rs. eight crore per MW, as determined by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, all these projects would mean investments to the tune of Rs. 5,520 crore.
As the Tangedco is the agency to administer solar power obligations (SPO) under the Policy, it has been entrusted with the function of facilitating investors by procuring energy generated from their plants through 20-year-long power purchase agreements. In December last, the Corporation floated bids.
Explaining the sudden rise, an official says that when the Board of Directors of the Corporation had cleared the first batch of bidders in February, it had decided to give time to them as well as other bidders [who originally chose not to accept the Corporation’s terms on power purchase] to come back to the power utility if the bidders were agreeable to the terms. The deadline was then fixed as May 31.
Of the additional 430 MW, two companies have come forward to put up plants of 100 MW each. As regards the rest, the capacity varies from one MW to 10 MW to 25 MW to 45 MW to 60 MW. Tiruvannamalai and Ramanathapuram are among the districts where the new projects are to come up.
All these projects are expected to be commissioned by March next.