Proximity to the sea and saline conditions at Dholera SIR (Special Investment Region) in the state is expected to push up the cost of solar power generation. According to current estimates, the power produced at the 5,000 MW solar park within the SIR is expected to be costlier by 20 paise per unit, said state government officials.
The increased costing is largely due to the increased cost on civil work which is needed at the solar park, a large portion of which remains inundated for several months during monsoon and also faces tidal variations. The park which is coming up in a coastal regulation zone is also expected to face issues of salinity.
“The terrain of the Dholera Solar Park is of an amphibious kind. It is partly earth and partly water. It is so close to the city, we have to counter the marine conditions. We need better superstructures and foundations. We need to clean it on a regular basis,” said Raj Gopal, Principal Secretary, Energy and Petrochemicals Department.
“In a week or two, we should be able to float the RFP (Request For Proposal) for the first 1,000 MW solar power project ( the first phase of the 5,000 MW solar project). The terrain is challenging and we will have to specify the constraints which has to be factored into the costing,” he added. The first phase of the project is expected to be commissioned in the next two years. The estimated power demand for the 22.5 square kilometer of activation area — which will be first piece of SIR to be developed – is about 380 MW. The demand for Phase-I is about 1,500 MW and that for the entire SIR is 4,500 MW.
According to top government officials, the cost of solar energy could be higher than the record low of Rs 2.44 per unit seen in the auctions held last month, but is expected to remain within Rs 3 per unit mark. “Since there are certain challenges, the cost will be more… Though bidding process will help us discover the price, but we expect the cost of per unit of power produced at this solar park to be more than 20 paise per unit than those produced in other solar parks. Still we are expecting the prices to remain Rs 3 per unit,” said Jai Prakash Shivahare, MD (IAS), Dholera Industrial City Development Ltd, a state-run company, while speaking at the sidelines of a “Solar Conclave” organised by CII on Friday.
The state government is expecting to spend about Rs 25,000 crore in developing the 5,000 MW solar park at Dholera SIR (Special Investment Region). This includes expenditure on works related to installation of 1.6 million solar PV panels, 5,000 central inverters and laying of approximately 25,000 kilometer of DC cables within the park. “IIT-Mumbai is working on the structural design of the park,” said Shivahare.
“We are expecting the solar power developers to invest in developing the infrastructure. This includes developing 11,000 hectare of land, 1.6 million solar panels, building of foundations, laying cables, etc,” he added.
Speaking about the cumulative addition of solar power in Gujarat, Raj Gopal said, “By 2022, we expect to add 7,000 MW of solar power in Gujarat. We have already given the work order for 500 MW, another 500 MW is in pipeline and 700 MW and 500 MW projects are expected to come up in Banaskantha.”