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Karnataka Has The Largest Capacity Of 3,293 MW Of Upcoming Solar Projects In India!

The recently published ‘India Solar Map 2016‘ which provides a quick snapshot all the Solar Projects being undertaken in India has said that Karnataka has the Largest Capacity of 3,293 MW of upcoming Solar Projects in India. Andhra Pradesh (2,664 MW) and Telangana (2.446 MW) are at 2nd and 3rd positions. This honor is a recognition of Karnataka Government’s efforts since 2014 to make the state, the top Renewable Energy producing state in India.

In May 2014, with DK Shivakumar as Energy Minister, Karnataka came out with a new ‘Solar Policy 2014-2021’ which is acknowledged as the trend setter in the renewable energy space. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India stated that the “Karnataka Solar Policy 2014-21″ is one of the best in India and has given an award for excellence in Renewable Energy among all states. They have directed other states to follow the “Karnataka Model” in many solar projects. The result of this visionary policy is evident in the rapid rise of Solar Projects in the state.

Facilitation by Government agencies such as Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited (KREDL), KERC, BESCOM and KPTCL has helped in making solar energy schemes such as Mega Solar Parks, Distributed Solar in every Taluk, RoofTop Solar, Surya Raitha etc become successful.

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LIST OF SCHEMES:

The 2000 MW Pavagada Mega Solar Park

One of the outcomes of Karnataka’s push towards Solar was the Pavagada Mega Solar Power Project, the world’s Largest Solar park which will be a landmark in our state’s and country’s history. This ambitious Project of 2000 MW capacity is coming up at Pavagada in Tumkur district. The Project is spread over more than 12,500 acres with the first phase of 1000 MW already under construction by world renowned companies like Tata Power and NTPC. Karnataka Solar Power Development Corporation Limited (KSPDCL) is the nodal company implementing the 2000MW Mega Solar Park at Pavagada. The bundled tariff by NTPC for ESCOMs of Karnataka would be around Rs. 3.30/unit & would further go down!

The unique thing about this project is that it is pro-farmer and has no land acquisition. A single acre has not been acquired from any farmer, but by using the innovative method of leasing, farmers are made direct beneficiaries of the project and get annual rent of Rs. 21,000 per acre. This has led to more than 11000 acres being smoothly leased.

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The mega solar park will start delivering about 1000 MW of power to the grid by mid-2017. All works would be completed within the stipulated time, with the entire project (2000 MW) completing by the end of 2018. Once this project commences, farmers in the region would start getting uninterrupted power supply round-the-clock.

Surya Raitha

For the first time in India, Government of Karnataka is executing a project to harness Solar Energy for the benefit of the Farmer. This scheme will ensure solar panels are placed to generate electricity for running irrigation pump sets, and will also enable farmers to sell excess power generated to the government enabling farmers to generate additional income from their lands, take part in the move towards green energy and also have no fear of electricity cuts.

Under the scheme, a farmer can install a solar power-run pump-set on his farm with 90 per cent subsidy from the government. The government will purchase excess power generated by the farmer as farming doesn’t necessarily happen on all 365 days a year. This programme is envisaged for the Irrigation Pump (IP) sets on the dedicated IP feeders.

A Pilot project is nearing completion at Harobele Panchayat, Kanakapura. World Bank officials who are impressed with this project will be visiting soon and may fund for its expansion to other regions of the state. Other states have been asked by the Central Government to follow this model. Through this scheme the farmers having 10Kwp solar power can earn nearly Rs 50,000/- per annum apart from his self-consumption, for irrigation, which augments his revenue sources especially during drought.

The state provides free power to the agriculture sector. As a result, the subsidy for agriculture consumption has shown an increasing trend year on year. To mitigate this, Karnataka Government has come out with this innovative scheme.

Grid Connected Solar Parks

In mid-2014, Karnataka Government had called a tender for generating up to 50 MW’s grid connected Solar Power Projects based on the new Solar Energy Policy. After the competitive bidding phase, 8 companies were allocated 500 MW generation capacity.

  • Asian Fab Tec Ltd. – Tumkur – 15 MW
  • Azure Power – Chitradurga – 130 MW
  • Bhoruka Power – Chitradurga – 20 MW
  • Kavit Industries – Chitradurga – 5 MW
  • Sun Edisor Energy – Chitradurga – 150 MW
  • Surana Power – Tumkur – 10 MW
  • Today Green Power – Tumkur – 70 MW
  • Welspun Energy – Koppal – 100 MW

Districts such as Tumkur, Chitradurga and Koppal are seeing heavy investments and jobs being created in the solar sector because of these projects. KREDL (Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited) is the nodal agency for facilitating implementation of these solar projects. The Commissioning deadline for the projects are between 24-30 months from the date of signing of PPA. The state will see a Solar Capacity addition of 500 MW’s from these projects by 2017.

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300 MW for Farmers

To make farmers realize the value of their land, Karnataka launched a unique scheme where a total of 300 MW was reserved for farmers who could set up 1-3 MW Grid connected Solar Power Plants on their agricultural lands. In a transparent online bidding process, 27000 farmers applied for the scheme. This was again appreciated by the Central Government who are investing close to 600 MW in a similar scheme in Karnataka where subsidies to the tune of ₹50 lakh per MW is being given. KREDL in fact is conducting workshops along with the Central Government to popularize the scheme in other states. Punjab is another state which is replicating the success of this innovative scheme.

Distributed Solar – 20 MW in Each Taluk

Another innovative solar scheme which ensures that nearly every backward taluk of the state is building its own renewable energy capacity is the “Distributed Solar” scheme. More than 100 Taluks spread across Karnataka have been allotted up to 20 MW each by Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited (KREDL) and Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) and the power generated will be bought by ESCOM’s. Initially KREDL called a tender for 60 taluks and allocated 910 MW. Impressed with the success of the scheme, SECI also came forward to implement such a project in Karnataka and announced setting up of around 950MW in 60 more taluks of the state.

The unique thing about this scheme is that the power generated will be based on existing transmission and distribution infrastructure and will also be used to supply locally to the taluk where the solar park will be situated. This cuts down on transmission losses and “decentralizing” power and delivering it to the surrounding regions will bring on board land owners and farmers who will directly benefit, thus creating a “community solar park”.

This is the first time in India that such an initiative is being attempted with focus on investors who want clean energy production and long-term benefits for the wider community. Many Taluks were reserved for local Solar Manufacturers thus encouraging industry in the state.

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Other Initiatives

Karnataka gives prominence to manufacturing in the state and has made it all the more attractive for investors in the solar sector by giving them incentives such as reducing VAT for manufacturing of photo-voltaic cells. The state also has an active policy for converting waste to energy, and provides concessions for companies who use recycled water from sewage. Roof Top solar has also been quite successful with the intention of garnering close to 200 MW across the state by 2018.

Massive investments have happened on the transmission and distribution front to evacuate power from all these new projects. KPTCL alone has made close to Rs. 10,034 crore investment in the last 3 years. A green energy transmission corridor is also being built along with investments in batter storage.

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Summary

The Karnataka Government is committed to shift 20% of Total Power Production to Renewable Sources by 2020. We are well on our way to meet the 5000 MW target from renewable sources by 2020. Thanks to a pro-active approach of the Energy Minister, Department officials and continuous learning, Karnataka will remain the leader and to set the pace and standards for renewable energy among Indian states.