When the JMB Group unveiled its plan to invest Rs 1,600 crore over the next three years in the solar energy sector, the message was clear. The Gurgaon-based conglomerate, which is into real estate, manufacture of steel and auto components, among other activities, wants to include renewable energy in its investment portfolio.
The group, according to the company's statement, has a combined capacity of 300 MW under its newly formed entity, JMB Solar (P) Ltd., as part of its plan to be an independent power producer.
Its focus will be on ground-mounted and solar rooftop projects within the framework of the government's 100,000 MW Solar Energy Plan. "With the Indian national solar target increasing from 20GW to 100GW by 2022 and our government's ongoing focus towards building smart cities, we feel this is the right time to enter into the solar power sector," said JBM Group executive director Nishant Arya.
The Narendra Modi government envisages diversification of its energy base away from oil. The target is to build a 100,000-MW solar energy capacity by 2022, of which 10,000-MW projects will be awarded under the first phase. Other initiatives include generation of around 6,000 MW through NTPC, 2,500 MW through Solar Energy Corporation, and around 2,500 MW in Madhya Pradesh. Solar parks in various states are also on the anvil.
NTPC's plan calls for harnessing 25,000 MW of solar energy over six years, of which it will generate 10,000 MW on its own. The balance will be awarded to private players on the basis of tenders together with un-utilised thermal power for sale to consumers.
The Corporation's board will also invest Rs 1,779.25 crore for setting up a 250 MW solar PV project at Anantpur in Andhra Pradesh, besides a 1,000 MW solar park in Coonoor (Tamil Nadu). The project will come on stream through competitive bidding, for which land acquisition and other formalities for power transmission are through.
Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), a fully owned subsidiary of the ministry of new and renewable energy, will also float tenders for generating 2000 MW of solar power. "All plans are in place and the ball will be set rolling for centrally awarded solar projects once approvals come," SECI has announced.
India's solar energy capacity of 3,382 MW will surge by an additional 1,112 MW with the commissioning of new projects. The Central government has also revised its target for solar power at 100,000 MW by 2022, a five-fold increase over the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission's original target of 20,000 MW for the same period. Many households in Bangalore are now generating solar power for their own use under the new regulations that allow them to supply power to the regional grid in return for discount against their electricity bills.
At the state level, Madhya Pradesh leads the pack with an output of 2,500 MW in solar power. Tenders for similar upcoming projects include those from Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Rajasthan is also exploring the possibility of harnessing renewable energy on a large scale in its desert areas.
Meanwhile, Bihar has heralded its 'Roof-top Revolution', according to a report released by the Bridge to India, an environmental consultancy service based in New Delhi. It observes that Patna has drawn up plans for tapping solar energy by utilising the roof space on government and industrial buildings. The city can produce additional 277 MW by 2025 without incurring any heavy capital expenditure in their grid structure, which accounts for about 20% of its power needs.
In a similar development, the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore has recently installed a 400 kilowatt solar power system on the ground's eastern stand as part of its renewable energy drive, according to NDTV.
"We've put a 400 KV solar power plant on the rooftop. We are currently generating about 1800 units per day which will be around six lakh units per year. So if this is successful, we plan on putting it on the western stand as well. A total of 1.3 megawatt is what we want to generate," Brijesh Patel, honorary secretary of the Karnataka State Cricket Association, told the TV channel. Solar energy is set to become the wave of the future.