It was first January, then February-end. Now the works on the 5-MW grid-connected solar plant that is coming up in Shimsha, Malavalli taluk, is expected to be completed only by April.

According to the original schedule, the plant was to be ready in January, however, the sand transporters' month-long strike delayed the civil works. Upset by this, Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd. (KPCL), which is implementing the project, has decided to levy a penalty of about Rs. 11.50 crore on BHEL, which has been awarded the contract for executing the project, a senior KPCL official told The Hindu .

Cause of delay

Technical reasons have also come in the way of early completion of the project. The work got held up during the foundation stage as the project site had loose soil. Even the the 66-kV power transmission line being laid by the KPTCL is still not ready, sources said.

The foundation for the Rs. 61.50-crore solar plant coming up on 25 acres of land, was laid on June 29, 2011.

The KPCL seems to be confident of the plant's commissioning in April as 70 per cent of the works, including the installation of the solar power panels have been completed.

The Shimsha plant is the fourth grid-connected solar power plant coming up in the State and is its biggest. The plant is expected to generate about eight million units of power a year.

All eyes are on the plant as it is touted to be the lowest costing project among all such solar plants in the country.

The KPCL bagged the Shimsha project through bidding under the first phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission for which NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd. is a nodal agency.