West Bengal Approves 20 MW of Solar Projects

The West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission (WBERC) has approved the development of 20 MW of solar projects in the Birbhum district of the state.

The commission has further directed the distribution company to pursue future projects before obtaining prior approval of the commission.

Background

On October 21, 2019, the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL) had applied for “in principle” clearance and investment approval for the installation and commissioning of two 10 MW solar PV power projects in Birbhum district of the state.



The WBSEDCL had submitted that the total cost of the project, inclusive of solar modules and estimated evacuation, would be ₹428.9 million (~$6 million).

The state DISCOM had also stated that the total awarded value was within the administrative approval of ₹510.5 million (~$7.16 million).

For the first project at Dhaka 1, the total cost was to the tune of ₹434.7 million (~$6.1 million), while for the second 10 MW solar project at Dhaka II, the estimated cost was ₹428.9 million (~$6 million).

Both projects have been covered under a 100% grant from the state government. Therefore, there will be no requirement of capital investment by the licensees in the project development.

The commission observed that the project is entirely financed by the state government, including its operation and maintenance (O&M) for five years.

After considering its request, the commission has asked the WBSEDCL to submit the commercial operation date (COD) before the commission after the projects are commissioned.

Additionally, the state commission has stated that the solar PV project for the initial five years from the date of commissioning should not be claimed in tariff as the project cost includes five years of maintenance costs of the total solar projects.

In November 2019, Mercom reported when the WBERC gave 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.

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

Image credit: Σ64 [CC BY 3.0]