In a move that highlights the growing importance of solar power, Aditya Aluminium, which is a unit of the Aditya Birla Group, has set up a 24 MW solar power project at Lapanga in Sambalpur district.
This comes as a part of Odisha government’s ambition of installing renewable energy capacity of 2,750 MW, out of which 2,200 MW will be from solar energy.
The project was inaugurated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and is spread across 144 acres of land with an investment of ₹1.51 billion (~$21.2 million). The power produced will be used by Aditya Aluminium in the aluminium smelting process.
As per the company statement, the high-capacity captive power projects in the state have to comply with the Odisha Renewable Policy, 2016 and are required to meet the solar purchase obligation (SPO) as specified by the Odisha State Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC).
Speaking about the downside of solar power, the unit head of Aditya Aluminium, Kailash Pandey said, “Smelters require a consistent load network and uninterrupted power supply. For Aditya Aluminium, this load requirement sums up to nearly 658 MW which is huge. However, power fluctuations are very common in solar projects as power generation depends on daylight. Cloudy weather, rains may also cause huge power swings.”
“Controlling turbo generators during the power swing is an upheaval task in terms of boiler stability, electricity import and export as we are connected to the grid,” he added.
He further noted that the fluctuation in power generation is taken care of by the intelligent load shedding system that is called Composite Islanding and Land Management System (CILMS).
Earlier this year, Vedanta Limited, a diversified natural resources company, had also invited Expression of Interest for the procurement of solar power under a short or medium-term basis from solar power generators, state electricity boards, and utilities, independent power producers and traders. The delivery point for the generated power will be Vedanta Limited’s premises in Odisha’s Jharsuguda. The minimum bid capacity is 20 MW and the maximum has been fixed at 300 MW.
According to Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker, Odisha is one of the least developed states in India in terms of solar capacity. The state has 83 MW of solar projects under development and 362 MW of solar capacity is presently installed.