Mumbai: Power utility Adani Power is installing a 40 MW solar power plant in Gujarat as it forays into renewable energy, a top official told Reuters on Tuesday.
“We are putting up a 40 MW (solar) plant in Gujarat, for which we have already signed a PPA (power purchase agreement) with the Gujarat government... It should be operational by end of 2011,” said chief executive officer Ravi Sharma.
The firm, which is a unit of diversified Adani Enterprises, is primarily developing coal-based projects of about 16,000 MW and aims to operationalise 9,900 MW by March 2013. At present the firm has operational capacities of 990 MW.
“We may extend the solar project capacity further depending on the experience,” he said, adding that the tendering process for photo-voltaic technology-based equipment is already on.
He declined to give details of the exact investments for the solar project, but analysts estimate that solar power projects in India cost about $3-3.5 million per MW.
India which aims to cut its emmissions voluntarily by 20-25% of 2005 level by 2020, has embarked on a solar energy plan which aims at developing projects worth 20,000 MW by 2022, while its current grid-connected solar capacity is still in single digits.
“The volumes of renewable energy will be much more, once it becomes more and more viable, where as the cost of installing such power plants will become more economical... Currently we are considering all options.”
High irradiation levels and huge unmet power demand in India makes harnessing solar energy an ideal option, but the country is highly dependent on imports for critical raw material such as silicon wafer, which pushes up project costs manifold. “I think technology will have to push itself by making it more cost-competitive... Governments all over the world are helping these technologies a lot, but now these technologies will have to help themselves to leapfrog into a cost-competitive era,” Sharma said.
Adani Power is developing a 4,620 MW coal-based power plant at Mundra in Gujarat, where 3 units of 330 MW are already operational, while another one is expected to be commisoned by October and the entire capacity expected on stream by March 2012, he added.
He expects electricity demand in India to keep growing considerably for at least 10 more years as historically additional supply is seen fuelling more demand for the electricity among nations.
“The current shortfall is the bare-essential shortfall. The momment that situation is reached where the supply becomes more regular, more consistent, then the demand would further rise...I do not believe we will be able to reach this situation (surplus),” Sharma said.
The firm is engaged in developing 1,320 MW project in Chindwara, Madhya Pradesh, 3,300 MW in Bhadreshwar, Gujaratand 2,640 MW in Dahej, Gujarat, he said.
The firm is also a shortlisted bidder for a 1,000 MW coal-fired project in Kosovo along with three others, he said.
In August 2009, the firm has debuted on Indian stock exchanges by lapping up $630 million from the investors to mostly fund power projects, while late last month its parent Adani Enterprises raised $850 million in a share sale to mainly buy coal assets.
At 11:09 a.m., shares in the firm were up 0.07% in a Mumbai market that was up 0.22%.