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NE's biggest solar power plant starts generation

By The Assam Tribune

AGARTALA, Feb 17 (IANS): Northeast India's biggest and the first-of-its-kind 5MW capacity solar power plant in Tripura has begun commercial production, an official said Tuesday.

The state-owned North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) has commissioned the solar power plant at Monarchak in western Tripura.

"The solar power plant was set up at a cost of Rs.40 crore. The entire power from the plant would be transmitted to the Tripura power grid," NEEPCO general manager S.R. Biswas told reporters here.

He said that to generate power, 23,616 solar panels were integrated with the Monarchak power project area, where NEEPCO has also commissioned a separate 101-MW capacity power plant.

The official said: "Following the government policy, NEEPCO has initiated the process to set up more and more solar, non-conventional and renewable power plants in various parts of the country."

He said the corporation will set up a 50-MW solar power plant in Madhya Pradesh and a two-MW capacity plant at Lanka in Nagaon district of Assam.

Meanwhile, after overcoming several impediments, the 101MW-capacity power plant is expected to start experimental generation from Friday.

NEEPCO, a mini-ratna company under the union power ministry, has set up the Rs.9.5 billion (nearly $150 million) gas-based power plant in Monarchak, 70 km south of Tripura capital Agartala and just eight km from the Bangladesh border.

The NEEPCO official said non-supply of gas by ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation) led to huge delay in commissioning the power project resulting in the loss of Rs.five crore a month for the past several years.

"The ONGC, after many negotiations and meetings, started supplying gas to the power plant since earlier this month and, accordingly, we synchronised the system," Biswas added.

The foundation stone of the Monarchak power project was laid during the previous National Democratic Alliance government in March 2002 and the Tripura government allotted the required land to NEEPCO in 2003.

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