Telugu states roll out ‘solar-friendly’ policies; T’gana floating plant world’s largest

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Hyderabad, Feb 2 (IANS) Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are among the top states in solar power generation in the country.

With industry-friendly policies offering several incentives, the Telugu states are racing ahead to achieve their solar power targets.

Telangana and Andhra Pradesh stand sixth and seventh respectively in cumulative solar capacity in the country.

The Centre had informed the Parliament in August last year that the cumulative solar capacity of Telangana is 4,695 MW while that of Andhra Pradesh is 4,552 MW.

However, the Telangana government had claimed in May last year that from a mere 74 MW of solar power at the time of state’s formation in 2014, Telangana now generates 5,865 MW of solar power

During 2022-23, Andhra Pradesh was at fifth place in power generation. The state generated 8,140 million units.

Officials say Andhra Pradesh has almost achieved the target of generating 5,000 MW solar power by 2023 and a series of new projects approved recently will double the capacity.

Andhra Pradesh, which is home to four solar parks announced by the government of India, has solar energy potential of 38.4 GW. The state is also home to world’s largest integrated renewable energy storage project

The new year began on a promising note for Andhra Pradesh with the State Investment Promotion Board clearing the proposal of JSW Neo Energy Ltd to establish four solar power projects across the state to produce 3350 MW of power with an investment of Rs 12,065 crore.

JSW will establish 400 MW, 1050 MW, 1050 and 850 MW solar power units in YSR district, Sri Satya Sai district, in Anantapur district respectively.

Aqua Green Engineering Management Pvt Ltd will also establish a 1000 MW solar power unit in Sri Satya Sai district with an investment of Rs 4,000 crore.

In November 2023, foundation stone was laid for two solar power projects of 850 MW.

The solar power projects are coming up with an investment of Rs 3,400 crores at the solar parks at Kadapa and Anantapur.

The state government also signed an MoU with the HPCL for setting up solar energy plant of 500 MW.

The government has also signed an agreement with SECI (Solar Energy Corporation of India) for producing 17,000 million units of solar power in the state and supplying 13,000 million units to the agricultural sector at the rate of Rs 2.49 per unit as against the usual average unit cost of Rs 5.30. Officials said this would reduce the burden of the state exchequer on free power supply to farmers.

According to minister for energy Peddireddi Ramachandra Reddy, SECI would make available 3,000 from September 2024 in the first tranche and 3,000 MW and 1,000 MW in the second and third tranches from September 2025 and September 2026 respectively.

The solar power policy announced in 2019 offered several incentives to the private sector to meet the target. Under the policy, Discoms will procure 2,000 MW in five years.

The solar power industry players had hailed it as an investment-friendly policy. Under the policy, companies investing in solar power projects in the state would be entitled to state government incentives for 10 years.

According to the New and Renewable Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh (NREDCAP) Vice-Chairman and Managing Director S. Ramana Reddy, the state is on path to become a pioneer in the field of renewable energy in the country.

Earlier in August, 2023, foundation stone was laid for three renewable energy projects for producing 5,314 MW of power in Nandyal district.

Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy exuded confidence that the projects will help Andhra Pradesh become number one in green energy.

These include 2,300 MW solar power project to be set up by Greenko and 1000 MW solar power project to be set up by Ecoren Energy. These companies will invest Rs. 10,350 crore and Rs. 4,500 crores respectively.

In May 2022, it was announced that the world’s largest integrated renewable energy storage project (IRESP) is coming up in Kurnool district with an investment of over $3 billion.

Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy performed the first concrete pour ceremony of the project being implemented by Greenko Group.

The company said this 5,230 MW IRESP will play a pivotal role in India attaining energy security and enabling global energy transition.

According to Greenko, this is a first of its kind single location energy storage project with wind and solar capacities. The project is being implemented with an investment of over $3 billion comprising pumped storage (10,800 MWh of daily storage), solar (3000 MW) and wind (550 MW).

The project will help avoid 15 million tonnes of CO2 annually which is equivalent to emissions from three million cars.

In 2021 Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) commissioned what was then claimed to be India’s largest Floating Solar PV plant in Andhra Pradesh. Located at NTPC Simhadri, the 25 MW floating SPV project covers an area of 100 acres.

However, in 2022 the country’s largest floating Solar Power Project became functional at Ramagundam in Telangana.

Energy conglomerate National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) set up the 100 MW plant through Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL) under Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract.

The NTPC has set up the plant in the reservoir of its thermal power plant, saving valuable land resources, and also conserving water by reducing evaporation.

According to officials this is the largest floating solar plant in the country in a single location. The presence of floating solar panels ensures that the evaporation rate from water bodies is reduced thereby helping in water conservation.

The project is expected to help avoid approximately 32.5 lakh cubic meters per year of water evaporation. Similarly, coal consumption of 1,65,000 tonnes and Co2 emission of 2,10,000 tonnes per year can be avoided.

Set up at a cost of Rs.423 crore, the solar photo-voltaic project is spread over 500 acres.

Equipped with advanced technology as well as environment friendly features, the plant is expected to ensure that the aquatic ecosystem is maintained while producing clean power.

According to Telangana State Renewable Energy Development Corporation (TSREDCO), Telangana ranks fourth in the country in terms of solar power production.

Telangana ranks second in terms of solar power capacity per unit area of land mass. It also ranks second in State Rooftop Attractiveness Index

Telangana accounts for 10.5 per cent of India’s solar power capacity while being 3.5 per cent of India’s land area.

The state, which has solar power capacity of 5,865 MW, plans to add about 3 GW of clean energy capacity in about 4-5 years.

Since solar as a resource is so abundantly available, the government is striving to promote its adoption among the population. The solar potential in the state is estimated at 20.41 GW.

Renewable energy is one of the focus sectors for the state government. The state came out with a solar power policy in 2015 to encourage generation of solar power through various means.

It offers several sops for developers like single-window and speedy clearances, exemption from the Land Ceiling Act, deemed conversion to non-agricultural land status, 100 per cent refund on VAT and GST, refund on stamp duty, exemption from electricity wheeling charges and speedy approvals from the State Pollution Control Board.

Telangana claims to be the only state which allows for a self-certification-based system for industrial approvals and clearances. The government enacted Telangana State Industrial Project Approval and Self-Certification System (TS-iPASS). This legislation guarantees all approvals within 15 days. On the 16th day, the approval is deemed given if no response is shared by the government.



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