Solar Energy Corporation of India to bid for four solar thermal power projects

Greentech Lead India: Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) plans to call for bids for four pilot solar thermal power projects, Hindu reported.

The projects requiring an investment of about Rs 2,555 crore, have been sanctioned a viability gap funding (VGF) of Rs 1,020 crore. Bidders who seek the least funding will bag the projects, the report said.

SECI will throw these projects for international competitive bidding in a year. It is targeting a tariff of Rs 5.83 per kWhr, fixed over a 25-year period.

The solar thermal projects are planned in Gujarat (35 MW), Rajasthan (40 MW), Tamil Nadu (25 MW) and Andhra Pradesh (20 MW).

While the Rajasthan project will experiment with a hybrid cooling system, the one in Gujarat will try to work at higher operating temperatures, of over 500 degrees Celsius. The other two plants will seek to develop technologies for extended hours of heat storage.

Solar thermal projects utilize technologies that help concentrate solar rays to produce heat. Solar thermal projects are struggling to compete against solar PV projects due to the higher costs of the technology.

Under the National Solar Mission, seven solar thermal projects of total capacity of 500 MW were awarded through a competitive bidding route. These projects were supposed to have been completed this month; but none of them have so far, Hindu reported. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has given the project developers one more year’s time to complete their projects.

India, a country aggrieved by severe power shortage, targets to raise its renewable energy capacity to 30 GW by 2017. Solar will constitute a major share of this capacity, with the country expected to increase it from the current 2 GW to about 10 GW by 2017.

editor@greentechlead.com