The first Solar Power Plant in India is the Kolar plant in Karnataka that generates 3 MW of solar power. The plant is situated in the village of Yalesandra around 100 Km from the IT capital of India, Bangalore.
It is a Photovoltaic Cell plant that was built in a period of just under a year by Titan Energy Systems. It will be run by Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd. (KPCL), the state run power grid. This Rs. 590-million plant is going to generate around 4 million units of electricity in a year.
Working of the Solar Plant
There are more than 13,000 solar panels in this plant that is spread across 15 acres. This plant will absorb sun’s radiation, convert it into electricity and will transmit it to the control room. In the control room, the Direct Current or DC will be converted to Alternating Current or AC using a dozen of inverters of capacity 250 KW.
The generated electricity is transmitted to the sub-station at Boddikote and then it is sent to the power grid. The solar power generated from the plant is eco-friendly and clean. However the initial cost of installing the Solar Power Plant comes to Rs. 15 crore for each MW. The solar panels used in the power plant are made from silica from Suniva Inc., the US-based leader in photovoltaic technology. This takes the cost of generation of solar power to more than Rs. 16 a unit.
In order to minimize the loss due to distribution and transmission, KPCL is going to supply the electricity generated to the hundreds of pumpsets being installed in the farms located close to the power plant that don’t receive any irrigation.
This Solar Power Plant is of great help to the farmers in the area, as they receive electricity during daytime that can be used for irrigation and other agricultural activities. The plant is given an operating life of 25 years, with 10% and 20% degradation levels after 10 and 20 years. During cloudy conditions, with reduced level of sunlight, the solar panels absorb the heat from the sun using thermal process.
Based upon the intensity of sunlight through different seasons, the power generated from the solar panels varies from 4,000 to 18,000 units in a day. And, because India falls in the tropical belt, it receives sunlight for major part of the calendar. Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd. is also developing a couple of 3 MW Solar Power Plant in Begalum and Raichur districts in northern Karnataka.
Solar Plant in Gujarat
Similar developments are also taking place in Gujarat, where the largest Solar Power Plant is being built. This is going to be a 3,000 MW power plant being built in conjunction with the William J. Clinton Foundation.
Subsidy by Indian Government
The Indian government is further planning to offer a subsidy of 55% on installation of solar power in residential and commercial settings. It is also planning to power more than 10,000 villages with solar energy by the year 2012.