Tata Power Renewable Energy, a unit of Tata Power, has been awarded a contract to supply solar electricity to Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co for a period of 25 years.
State and central power utilities award such contracts by conducting a bidding process in which companies are expected to offer their cheapest rate for supplying solar electricity. Tata Power said it won this capacity as part of a bidding process announced in December.
The company did not disclose the rate at which the energy will be purchased.
Typically, power companies have been offering to supply solar electricity at between Rs 2.40 to Rs 3.00 per unit.
Tata Power said it will establish a 100 megawatt plant within the next 18 months under the contract.
1 watt hour of power generation capacity should ideally produce 1 watt of electricity for 8,760 hours a year if it works non-stop and at full capacity.
However, since solar plants can’t work at night, and works sub-optimally in cloudy conditions and towards sun-rise and sun-set, they are assumed to work only part of the during.
In case of this project, Tata Power said it is assuming that the 100 megawatt project will produce 240 million units, which means that 1 watt of installed capacity is expected to work at full capacity for 2400 hours — or about 27.4% of the total duration.
The load factor can be as high as 35% in a desert conditions, such as those in Rajasthan, especially if rotating panels that track the sun’s movement are used instead of static panels. European countries such as the UK and Germany work with load factors of just 10%-12%.
Given that 1 unit of electricity produced in a thermal plant releases around 1 kg of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the plant will save 240 million kg of CO2 from being released, the company said.
The award of the contract will also increase Tata Power’s renewable capacity to 3,557 MW,, out of which 2,637 MW is operational and 920 MW is under implementation.
Within the operational capacity, 932 MW is wind power and 1705 MW is solar capacity. These are located in states such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Punjab, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Rajasthan.