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State eyes 400 MW of solar power in 2 years

By Rituraj Borthakur

GUWAHATI, March 1 - While the State has been mostly dependent on hydroelectric and thermal power so far, it is now also looking at solar energy to reduce the demand-supply gap. The government is planning to harness around 400 MW of grid-connected solar power through developers in about two years time.

APDCL sources said in Phase I, the power utility is developing five projects totalling 100 MW through private entities under �Built, Own, Operate� mode in five locations of the State. M/s Azure Power is developing three 25 MW solar projects at Rowta, Boko and Lalangkitta Labocpar (Cachar) and another of 16 MW at Samaguri, Nagaon. A 10 MW solar project is also being developed by M/s Maheswari Mining at Padumoni, Nagaon. They are likely to be completed by June.

�The APDCL will purchase power from them and the rates have been fixed through reverse auction,� the sources said. Tenders have been floated for another 100 MW in the second phase.

The APGCL is developing the 70 MW Amguri solar project, the work order for which has been given. The power generation company has also floated the tender for a 25 MW plant at Namrup.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has sanctioned a 70 MW solar plant in Dima Hasao, while the Solar Energy Corporation of India has allotted a 30 MW project for Assam under the VGF scheme for supply of power to Central PSUs.

All these projects are expected to be completed in two years.

As on date, the rooftop solar systems installed in the State have a capacity of 12.41 MW, while work is on for installing systems of another 9.15 MW capacity. Thirteen colleges, including five in Jorhat besides the Pobitora wildlife sanctuary have been provided solar power units.

In the off-grid front, the State has installed stand-alone systems in 40,142 households in 484 villages under the Saubhagya scheme. Each unit has a capacity of 300 watt.

Under decentralised distributed generation of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, 268 microgrid plants having a capacity of 3.59 MW have been set up in 65 villages. They are catering to 14,254 households. Under the same scheme, 26,523 stand-alone sets have been given in 345 remote and non-electrified villages. These units have a capacity of 200 watt each.

The current peak demand of power in the State is around 1,400 MW, and is heavily dependent on external agencies to meet the deficit as it own generation is very limited. The Assam Power Generation Corporation Limited is currently getting around 380 MW of power from Lakwa Thermal Power Station, Namrup Thermal Power Station, Karbi Langpi Hydro Electric Project and Myntriang Small Hydro Electric Project. It has to buy the rest.

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