Over the past decade, there have been a number of landmark renewable energy projects that have been critical in the sector’s growth journey. These projects have set new benchmarks in terms of technology, project design, commissioning timelines, tariffs or power procurement arrangements. As the decade comes to a close, several other noteworthy projects are being developed in areas including hybrids, green hydrogen, floating solar, pumped hydro storage and offshore wind power, and it will be interesting to see how these projects shape the country’s renewable energy landscape. Renewable Watch identifies 10 projects set up in the decade that deserve special mention…
Charanka Solar Park
Located in Patan district of Gujarat, the Charanka Solar Park is one of the most notable early examples of solar parks from around the world. Opened in 2012, it was a first-of-its-kind large-scale solar park with contiguously developed land, transmission connectivity and other infrastructure and facilities in place. Initially developed with a combined capacity of 224 MW from 19 individual solar power plants, it has since been expanded to 590 MW of capacity.
Waste-to-energy plant at Ghazipur
The waste-to-energy plant at Ghazipur, Delhi, has been operational since 2016. It was developed by IL&FS Environment as a public-private partnership project for the East Delhi Municipal Corporation. With the capacity to process 2,000 tonnes of waste per day, the project generates 12 MW of power from refuse-derived fuel. Apart from supplying power to the discom, BSES Yamuna Power Limited, the project supplies 2 MW of power to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).
RSSB-EES rooftop solar plant
The Radha Soami Satsang Beas Educational and Environmental Society (RSSB-EES) rooftop solar plant is located near Amritsar, Punjab. It was inaugurated in May 2016 and was built on the capex model. At the time of its commissioning, it was India’s largest rooftop plant, with a total installed capacity of 11.5 MW. Developed by Tata Power Solar, the project was built across eight venues on single premises.
Mudasarlova floating solar project
The 2 MW floating solar project at the Mudasarlova reservoir was implemented by the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation. The project was commissioned in August 2018, in a time frame of just four months. The largest operational floating solar project in India till date, it has provided a basis for two other projects aggregating 18 MW, being developed by GVMC, both at the Meghadrigedda reservoir.
Wind-solar hybrid project at Raichur
The country’s first large-scale wind-solar hybrid project was commissioned by Hero Future Energies in April 2018, a month before the government released the policy guidelines for these projects. The project has been built by engineering, procurement and construction contractor Siemens Gamesa at Kavithal in Raichur district of Karnataka, by adding a 28.8 MW solar project to an existing 50 MW wind farm.
Sembcorp wind farm at Chandragiri
Sembcorp Energy India Limited commissioned its 250 MW wind power project in Chandragiri, Tamil Nadu, in October 2018. This was the first project to be commissioned among those awarded under SECI’s first tranche of interstate transmission system-connected wind power auctions in April 2017. Completed six months ahead of schedule, the project consists of 119 Suzlon turbines of 2.1 MW each.
Rewa Solar Park
In February 2017, the reverse auction for the 750 MW Rewa Solar Park yielded the lowest solar tariff discovered in India till then, at Rs 2.97 per kWh. The large size of each solar power plant, payment guarantee terms, and a longer construction timeline led to the low winning bid. In April 2019, the DMRC started procuring 99 MW of solar power from the Rewa Solar Park in a landmark deal.
Bhadla Solar Park
With a total capacity of 2,245 MW, the Bhadla Solar Park is considered to be one of the largest solar parks in the world and is spread across 4,500 hectares. It was developed in four phases, with construction starting in 2015 and the entire park becoming fully operational in March 2020. The historic low of Rs 2.44 per unit in May 2017 remains the third-lowest tariff quoted in the country’s solar bidding history.
Pavagada Solar Park
The Pavagada Solar Park in Karnataka has an operational capacity of 2,050 MW and is one of the largest solar parks in the world. The project was approved in 2015 and was built on a single cluster of 13,000 acres of land. The land was obtained on an annual lease basis with the consent of farmers in five villages. The project was finally completed and became fully operational in December 2019.
Green energy corridors
Conceptualised in 2012, the green energy corridors are the most important link in realising India’s renewable energy plans. Phase I involves the development of transmission infrastructure to facilitate the flow of 33 GW of renewable energy in eight renewable-rich states. Phase II primarily involves the development of a transmission system to cater to ultra-mega renewable power parks.