Odisha: The eastern state is enhancing its solar potential

The Energy Minister of Odisha, Prafulla Kumar has said that the state is planning to set up eight more solar power projects through SECI (Solar Energy Cooperation of India) and its VGF (Viability Gap funding) scheme, for the  addition of 270 MW power generation by 2018 fiscal year, local newspaper The Orissa Post has reported.

Currently, 63 MW of solar power is generated through 12 grids set up at various locations in Odisha. Breaking down these 12 projects, the Green Energy Development Corporation of Odisha Ltd (GEDCOL) solar plant at Manamunda in the Boudh district generates 20 MW power, while ACME Solar’s plant at Deogaon in Bolangir has a capacity of 25 MW, and the remaining 18 MW in different projects across the state.

Apart from that, as of September 2017, Odisha has installed 16 MW of rooftop solar in various sectors, as per the latest rooftop report by Bridge to India.

The minister also informed that the state ministry is planning to procure 75 MW of solar power from different solar firms located in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Gujarat.

According to the Odisha Renewable Energy Development Agency (OREDA), the state has estimated a potential for solar PV of 14 GW.

Recently, national newspaper The Business Standard has also reported on the competition for state government sponsored bids for solar projects in Odisha. The projects up for bidding could generate 200 MW of PV capacity. The auction would take place according to the latest guidelines issued by the MNRE (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy).

With reverse bidding, Odisha could see around INR 3.50 ($ 0.054)/kWh levelized tariff. Major players have shown an interest in participating in bids, including ACME Solar, SB Energy, Tata Power, Essel GreenEnergy and Adani Power. Further, leading PSUs like National Aluminum Company Ltd (NALCO), NLC Ltd are keen to participate. Gujarat Energy Research & Management Institute (GERMI), a consultant, will help the Odisha state government to prepare the necessary bid documents.

In November, Odisha as also introduced a net metering system for existing rooftop solar plants in Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack City.