By Reinhard Bimashofer
IBC SOLAR, a global leader in photovoltaic (PV) systems and energy storage from Germany, has completed a 27 megawatt (MW) solar plant near Kesinga in the Indian state of Odisha. For IBC SOLAR, this is its largest project to date as well as its first project in Eastern-India. And it shows how fast things can change to clean energy from the sun. On my November trip to India, New Delhi and other areas there had big smog troubles. The new solar park has been finished one and a half years after the decision from the auction to getting the first megawatt to grid.
While states like Rajasthan, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh already have a large share of solar power, with more than 2 gigawatts installed capacity each, the state of Odisha lags behind with approximately 90 MW installed capacity (by autumn 2017) and has only recently begun to try and pick up speed. With the newly connected PV plant, IBC SOLAR is supporting Odisha to increase its share of solar power by around 30%. This is an important step for the economic development in Odisha and, in particular, for the district of Kalahandi where the new solar plant is situated.
Shailendra Bebortha, Managing Director of IBC SOLAR in India, explained that this project will put Western Odisha prominently on India’s solar map. He also expressed his thanks to all the Contractors, State Government departments, Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), lenders and local public for this huge success.
IBC SOLAR´s project is part of a 270 MW PV tender floated by SECI in the state of Odisha in August 2016. As a result, a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) was awarded to IBC SOLAR through a competitive auction process. Project financing was concluded with L&T Infrastructure Finance Company Limited in March 2017. Following the securement of 111 acres of land in August 2017, the local electric power transformation substation had to be upgraded to manage the soon-to-be generated energy, a transmission line for approximately 8 kilometers long was built, and construction of the solar plant then started in November 2017.
“With this project, we have consolidated a strong know-how in project development, land securitisation and grid connection in Odisha, a state with a high potential for solar PV build-up”, says José María Llopis, CEO of IBC SOLAR Energy GmbH. It is not only the company’s largest single location plant, but also its first project in India that was fully developed, financed, constructed and commissioned by IBC SOLAR alone. The solar plant meets the high-quality standards of IBC SOLAR as well as it fulfills stringent international standards of health and safety. It’s the best role model to build more of in the near future, and another big step for the company, which has a success-story more than 35 years in the making, including a full range of solar energy, from e-mobility charging to solar parks like this one in India.
The 270 MW from Odisha is small compared to Tengger Desert Solar Park, the world’s largest photovoltaic plant. It is located in Zhongwei, Ningxia, China. It covers an impressive area of 16,6 mi² (43 km2 ) – that is one tenth of the size of Vienna – and produces 1,547 MW. However, many small steps into a clean-tech-future are good news for India and for our environment.