West Bengal Approves Investment Proposal for 70 MW of Solar Projects

The capacity is divided into seven projects of 10 MW each

The West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission (WBERC) has given its approval for the investment proposal for 70 MW of solar projects in four districts of the state, including Paschim Bardhaman, Purulia, Bankura, and Paschim Medinipur.

The approved amount totals to ₹4,092.4 million (~$58 million), while the estimated cost of the project is ₹3,597.6 million (~$51 million).

The WBERC has also ordered the state DISCOMs that within a period of three months from the issue of the order, they should submit their power requirement plans from solar and non-solar sources to fulfill their RPO compliance.



However, the commission has clearly stated that WBSEDCL (the state DISCOM) should not make any progress towards the implementation of a project before obtaining the commission’s approval as mentioned in the tariff regulations.

The commission also observed that the WBSEDCL should submit a proper analysis of future power procurement from the solar and other renewable and co-generation sources.

West Bengal Approved List

Background   

The West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited had filed a petition in June 2018, seeking “in-principle” clearance in for the investment proposal to install and commission 70 MW solar PV power projects at seven locations in the districts of Paschim Bardhaman, Purulia, Bankura, and Paschim Medinipur, to fulfil its renewable purchase obligation requirement.

Referring to the petition of Chalbalpur in the district of Paschim Medinipur, the state had granted its approval to provide a fund of ₹525 million (~$7.44 million) to be arranged from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) under the RIDF Tranche XXIV. The WBSEDCL submitted the total estimated project cost of ₹448 million (~$6.35 million) for Chalbalpur, which was well within the approved amount of ₹525 million (~$7.44 million) by the state.

WBSEDCL had also submitted six more applications, and the total annual generation from all the proposed seven projects, including the one in Chalbalpur, aggregates to a total of  70 MW, which is expected to be 131.48 million units.

The state DISCOM has a renewable purchase obligation (RPO) target for the year 2019-20 pegged at 8.0%, including a solar target of 0.50%.

In April 2019, Mercom reported that CESC Limited, a distribution company in West Bengal, issued a notice inviting expressions of interest from interested bidders to procure 200 MW of solar power on a short-term basis. It was aimed to help the DISCOM meet its renewable purchase obligation from the existing solar PV projects.

The fulfillment of RPO, both solar and non-solar, is gradually assuming greater significance in the country with the DISCOMs learning to take it more seriously as regulatory commissions have started cracking down.

According to Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker, the state has an installed solar capacity of 94 MW as of September 2019, while a total of 64 MW of solar projects are under development currently.

Image credit: Scatec Solar