Chennai

Metrowater to install first solar plant at Chembarambakkam

Bids invited through e-procurement portal for the first time

Chennai Metrowater is likely to get its first solar energy plant, constructed on the premises of Chembarambakkam water treatment plant, by mid-May. Aiming to reduce power expenditure, the water agency has called for expression of interest from bidders through e-procurement portal for the first time.

The electricity bill comes to nearly 30%-40% of Metrowater’s total expenditure. In a bid to make use of renewable energy and decrease its power expenses, the water agency has tied up with the National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE). The organisation would provide technical support and help execute the project in vacant sites of Metrowater.

Officials said solar energy was chosen as an option to generate electricity for the operation of drinking water treatment and distribution facilities across the city. Of the total power requirement of 100 megawatt to operate water facilities, nearly 25 megawatt is proposed to be generated through solar plants.

Bids have been called through NIWE for installation, operation and maintenance of the one megawatt solar plant at the top of the underground tank in the Chembarambakkam facility. It has a capacity to treat about 530 million litres of water drawn from the lake daily.

“For the first time, we have called for bids on the e-procurement portal for better transparency and cost-effective process. Two government agencies have shown interest in the project so far,” said an official. The capacity of the plant would be increased in the next phase and expanded to other facilities.

The solar plant would be maintained by a private or another public firm and Metrowater plans to purchase power at ₹4.50 per unit. At present, the water agency buys power at ₹6.50 per unit from Tangedco.

With two more energy-intensive desalination plants coming up along East Coast Road in Nemmeli and Perur, the water agency is studying the possibility of electricity generation through a combination of solar and wind energy. There are also plans to invest in open access power purchase, which allows users to buy electricity from other private generators at a nominal rate. Metrowater is in the process of obtaining clearance from Tangedco to purchase power for operation of other water facilities, officials said.

It may be recalled that Metrowater had already started bio-gas generation in its sewage treatment plants a decade ago and has so far saved nearly ₹64 crore towards power expenditure.

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 7:50:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/metrowater-to-install-first-solar-plant-at-chembarambakkam/article31094405.ece

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