The plant, to be ready by January 2012, is estimated to cost Rs. 65 crore
Karnataka, which already holds the record for setting up the country's biggest grid connected solar power plant, with a capacity of 3 MW in Kolar district, is now to set up a 5 MW solar plant.
The new plant to be located in Shimsha of Mandya district is expected to be ready for generation by January 2012.
The Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd. (KPCL) is gearing up to set up the plant at a cost of Rs. 65 crore.
Biggest plant in State
While the proposed plant is going to be the State's biggest solar power plant, it may not be the country's biggest as several other States are in the process of setting up plants with similar capacities.
This is going to be the fourth grid connected solar plant in Karnataka.
The State has already set up two 3 MW solar power plants in Yelesandra of Kolar district and Belgaum while the third plant, with similar capacity, is about to be commissioned in Raichur by March. KPCL Chief Engineer (New Projects) S. Ramesh told The Hindu that the 5 MW plant will be set up on 25 acres of land near the Shimsha hydel power project site. Tenders will soon be called for the project and the works are expected to start by March. The Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd. has bagged the above project through the bidding process under the first phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission for which NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd. is a nodal agency.
This scheme of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is a mechanism of “bundling” relatively expensive solar power with cheaper power from the unallocated quota of the Union Ministry of Power generated at NTPC thermal stations.
According to Mr. Ramesh, the proposed Shimsha plant would generate about seven million units of power a year. The plant is expected to get a subsidy of Rs. 11.69 for every unit of power generated by it from the MNRE to promote renewable energy, which is not only eco-friendly, but also reduces the dependence on conventional power.
The State's other two grid connected solar power plants in Kolar and Belgaum are working well.
These plants and the one which is in the final stage of being set up in Raichur are dedicated for the use of irrigation pump sets of farmers in the surrounding villages.
However, the proposed plant at Shimsha will cater to general usage.