Bhadla to fuel Rajasthan’s plan to triple solar power generation
More than a million solar panels, installed on an arid stretch spread over 45 sq km in Jodhpur district, will fuel Rajasthan’s ambitious plan to generate 7,000 MW of solar energy by 2019 end. Once fully operational, the Bhadla solar park will generate 2,255 MW, making it “the largest solar park in the world”.
The park, being developed in four phases, is currently generating 746 MW and phase 3 of 1,000 MW is under implementation, a senior official said.
Apart from the Bhadla solar park, Rajasthan has already commissioned solar projects of 1,592 MW over the past four years. Besides, a 750 MW project being developed by Essel Infra at Pokhran, a 1,500 MW project is being jointly set up by Adani group and Rajasthan government at Jaisalmer and a 1,000 MW project is under construction by RRECL at Nokh in Jaisalmer. All these projects are expected to be commissioned by 2019 end.
“Rajasthan is on course to triple its solar power generation capacity in next two years to 7,000 MW from 2,246 MW at present,” Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation Ltd (RRECL) managing director BK Dosi said. “A major contributor will be world’s largest solar park at Bhadla, which will have a total capacity of 2,255 MW, and we expect it to be fully commissioned by March 2019,” he added.
At present, the 1,000 MW Kurnool Ultra Solar Park in Andhra Pradesh is the world’s largest single location solar project and Pavagada Solar Park in Karnataka aims to generate 2,700 MW once fully commissioned.
The Bhadla solar park already has two phases in operation, producing 746 MW of power, with big names in the business such as the Adani and IL&FS among the developers. RRECL has implemented phase I and phase II of Bhadla solar park. Under phase I (75 MW), five projects of 60 MW have been commissioned, and under phase II (680 MW) all the 10 projects of total capacity of 680 MW have been commissioned.
The third phase (1,000 MW) is being developed by Saurya Urja Company of Rajasthan Ltd, which is a joint venture of Rajasthan government and IL&FS. Out of 1,000 MW, projects of 500 MW capacity have been awarded at a tariff of ₹2.44 and ₹2.45 per unit.
“These projects are likely to be commissioned by September 2018,” Dosi said.
For remaining 500 MW capacity, an online e-auction was held on December 12, 2017 and tariff determined at ₹2.46 and ₹2.47 per unit. These projects are likely to be commissioned by March 2019, he said. The fourth phase (500 MW) is being developed by Adani Renewable Energy Park Rajasthan Ltd, a joint venture of Rajasthan government and Adani Enterprises.
Until the solar park was established, Bhadla on the fringes of the Thar Desert, about 200 km from Jodhpur, only made headlines for extreme heat with temperatures crossing 50 degrees in the summer. However, the sunny and arid region is now not only generating clean energy but also helping change the lives of people by providing employment and business opportunities.
A report released in October 2017 by the International Energy Agency (IEA) has stated that India’s renewable energy capacity will more than double by 2022. The union government has an ambitious target of raising it to 175 GW by 2022 including 100 GW of solar and 60 GW of wind energy.