The Capital’s tiniest power plant is ready to start generation from Tuesday. Using the sun’s energy from a rooftop in North Delhi’s Keshavpuram area, the city’s first solar power plant will generate one megawatt of electricity— just about enough to light up around 2,000 modest homes for a month.
The Tata-owned electricity distributor North Delhi Power Limited tied up with Tata BP Solar over a year ago to set up the project and link it to the grid at a discounted cost.
Solar electricity has never been a viable option in India as it involves huge investment and generates an almost insignificant amount of power.
The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission has capped the cost of this power at Rs 17 per unit— around four times the cost of power produced by gas or coal.
But to encourage solar power generation, which is an environment-friendly exercise, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy spends huge amounts of money on subsidizing every unit of power produced. On top of that, the Delhi government, too, has extended a subsidy to keep the cost of each unit coming out of the plant to about Rs 5.
“Delhi does not have unlimited space to set up conventional power plants. So, utilization of rooftops by installing photovoltaic panels is a great way of adding a source of power supply without deploying too much resources,” said a senior company official on the condition of anonymity as he is not authorized to speak to the media.
Setting up of solar power plants is also in line with the Delhi government’s Climate Change Agenda 2009 -2012.
The Environment department already subsidises residents who install solar power panels on their rooftops, apart from chipping in for keeping the cost of this power low.
“The subsidies and other financial benefits available from both Central and state governments make solar power generation lucrative and viable,” he said.