As many as 29 firms have been chosen by the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) for putting up solar power plants of an aggregate capacity of 226 megawatt (MW).

The price at which the Corporation will solar power from the proposed plants will, in the beginning, be Rs. 6.48 per unit. The plants will come up in different districts including Ramanathapuram, Sivaganga, Tuticorin, Virudhunagar, Karur, Vellore, Tiruvannamalai and Kancheepuram.

In Andhra Pradesh too, a similar price has been arrived at, says an official. [The Andhra Pradesh government came out with a policy document in September last]. A few days ago, the Corporation, at its meeting of Board of Directors, approved the selection.

Once the Tangedco issues Letters of Intent soon, the developers will have, effectively, nine months to commission their plants. Going by this schedule, the plants should be in place by January 2014.

The Corporation has taken up load flow studies for the developers, who are required to tie up, on their own, for getting land. They are also expected to achieve financial closure with financial institutions.

The establishment of the plants will come under the broad ambit of the Solar Energy Policy of the State government which was unveiled in October last. On December 5, the Tangedco issued a notice, inviting bids. It had expected proposals for 1,000 MW. In January, the technical bids were opened and 90 bids had been received for 500 MW. Subsequently, price bids were taken up for scrutiny.

The sources say the initial price of Rs. 6.48/unit will be in force till March 31, 2014. From the financial year of 2014-2015, there will be a five per cent increase in the price for 10 years, after which there will be no rise for another 10 years, the official adds.

As per the policy, high tension consumers including information technology parks and special economic zones and low-tension commercial consumers have to meet three per cent of their energy requirements through solar energy by the end of this year and six per cent from January 2014.

As the Tangedco is the agency to administer solar power obligations, it has decided to facilitate prospective investors by procuring energy generated from their plants through the long-term power purchase agreements.

Besides, the HT and LT commercial establishments can fulfil their obligations by purchasing power from the Corporation at tariff applicable to solar power.

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