That’s The Future: Solar Power Rate Drops To Rs 3.15/Unit, And It’s Only Going To Get Cheaper!
The Narendra Modi government’s push to encourage solar power is likely to get a major boost with the recent drop of power tariffs
In a recent auction for state-run generation utility NTPC’s 250MW at Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh a private company has quoted a tariff of Rs 3.15 per unit, the lowest registered in the country so far.
This beats the previous low of Rs 3.30 per unit tariff, on a basic bid of Rs 2.97 a unit for the first year, quoted in February for the first unit of the 750MW Rewa solar park in Madhya Pradesh
Solar power tariffs have been falling in the last three years due to the Narendra Modi government’s thrust on raising India’s green energy footprint and reduce oil imports by 10% by 2030. After coming to power in 2014, the Modi government metamorphosed the UPA’s National Solar Mission by setting a target of building 175GW of green energy capacity by 2030.
But some industry players cautioned that the “hidden costs” of integrating such large-scale plants into grid should be considered when calculating the landed cost. According to them, gridconnected solar PV plants use transmission lines only 20% of the time compared to 70% by traditional plants, which makes it 3.5 times costlier to wheel solar power.
Also, operation of conventional plants will have to be ramped down or up to maintain supply demand balance. This would result in lower plant load factors of conventional power station, which are expected to drop to 50% levels from current 60% levels. This in turn would push up the fixed cost component in the average cost of power.
Meanwhile Power Minister Piyush Goyal has told the Rajya Sabha that India added 5,525 MW solar power generation capacity last fiscal, taking the total from this clean source to 12,288 MW
It had achieved total cumulative solar power generation capacity of 6,763 MW in 2015-16. The capacity was 1,686 MW in 2012-13 which increased to 2,632 MW in 2013-14 and to 3,744 MW in 2014-15.
Among states, Andhra Pradesh tops the chart with largest cumulative solar generation capacity of 1,867 MW as on March 31, 2017 followed by Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu at 1,812 MW and 1,691 MW respectively.
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