While there is huge scope for setting up of Solar Park in the State, there is a need to grab the opportunity for setting up such green energy facilities in Odisha as other States are moving at a faster mode.
The Government of India is promoting Solar Energy and favoring the States with more Solar Parks.
Odisha planned for 1000 MW land based Solar Park more than four years back and because of the non availability of land, the capacity was reduced to 275 MW.
However, setting up such facilities in the State is taking a lot of time, for which Odisha is losing opportunity in this regard, experts opine.
As Odisha’s demand for Power is on rise and State’s Demand is likely to reach 6000 Mega Watt (MW) by 2024, the Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) on the state will be huge.
According to officials, the requirement of RPO is now to the extent of 2200 Mega Watt out of which 1500 MW is from Solar and 700 MW in Non Solar sources.
Accordingly, the experts advise that it will be prudent for the State Government to set up Solar Parks in the State to meet the obligations, to create employment opportunities and to demonstrate Odisha's attractiveness as an eco-friendly
investment destination as far as greenhouse gas emission reduction is concerned.
To provide a fillip to the ambitious renewable energy targets, obligations have been imposed on certain entities to purchase energy from renewable sources by the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs).
This estimate of RPO is based on each state’s varying renewable energy potentials.
The power distribution companies, captive power plants and other large electricity consumers are bound to meet the required RPO Obligations, by purchasing a certain percentage of their requirements from renewable energy sources.
As per national Plan, 60 Percent of the total installed power has to be sourced from clean energy, officials say.
Odisha's decision to go ahead with 275 MW Solar Park will bring to state an investment of more than Rs.1350 Crore.
Accordingly, land in two patches in Sambalpur of about 981 acres is readily available which will generate 220 MW. Boudh district is ready with another 262 acres of barren land and will feed 55 MW to the Grid.
Though certain clarification from the Government is pending, IDCO is ready to hand over the land to GEDCOL for the Solar Park.
While certain sources within the Government do not want any solar plant project inside the state as according to them, it will be cheaper to procure renewable power from solar rich states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat , experts view such thoughts as myopic.
EFC, the Transaction Advisor of the Government has estimated that with land contribution, external power evacuation infrastructure provided by state Government and subsidy from the Government of India, the likely tariff will be about Rs.2.76 per unit of power. Without the Government of India subsidy, the tariff will go up by another 8 paise per unit. The tariff will be Rs.3.05 per unit only with the land contribution by the state government.
In case of procurement of solar power from outside the state, Odisha has to bear a facilitation charge of 5 paise per unit of power and 7 paise per unit to be paid to the trading agency. Besides, Rs.3.0 per unit of power is applicable over the bidder tariff beyond June 2023 towards ISTS charges.
So even if solar power is available at Rs.2.50 per unit in other state, it would be much cheaper and wiser to take up solar projects in the state.
Unless solar projects are expedited in the state, GRIDCO will have to procure power from the Solar Parks in other states harming the state's interest, experts opine.