West Bengal Government Planning for Floating Solar Projects

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The West Bengal government is planning to develop floating solar power projects in a big way as it does not require a large tract of land.

The West Bengal government is planning to develop floating solar power projects in a big way as it does not require a large tract of land, a minister said on September 25, 2020. The government is exploring opportunities to take up 5 MW floating solar project on large ponds in the Bandel thermal power plant area, state power minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay said.

The state is also commissioning the country’s largest grid-connected floating solar project at Sagardighi thermal power plant in Murshidabad at a cost of Rs 22 crore, he said.

“We are looking for more locations for setting up floating solar projects, particularly in thermal plant areas of the West Bengal Power Development Corporation (WBPDCL).

“There is scope at the Bandel unit in Hooghly. We will explore opportunities and I think it can house large projects of 5MW or even more. We want to increase our renewable portfolio,” Chattopadhyay told local press.

WBPDCL’s Bakreswar plant area in Bankura is another location where such a green power project can be developed, he said. The state government has taken a series of steps to increase the generation of non-conventional power, he added.

“When I took over as a minister, solar capacity was just 2 MW; now it has been ramped up to 130 MW,” Chattopadhyay said. He said another 200 MW solar project had been undertaken in two phases in East Midnapore district at a cost of Rs 1,200 crore and will help reduce 5,00,000 tonne of carbon emission.

Recently, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had launched a 200 MW solar energy park in the state with a total investment of Rs 1200 crore that will also entail major employment opportunities in the state. The project involves foreign funding by way of debt and equity.

Elaborating on the power project, state industry minister Amit Mitra said West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company (WBSEDCL) has undertaken to set up the 200 MW solar park at Dadanpatrabar in East Midnapore with the financial assistance of KFW Germany and the state government. The project’s land requirement would be 1,032 acres in two phases of 532 acres and 500 acres. “These are mainly salt land. Due to this project, 5 lakh tonne of carbon emission would be stopped,” Mitra added.

An MoU in this regard was signed between WBSEDCL and KFW during Bengal Global Business Conclave in Digha in November 2019. The total project outlay is Rs 1,200 crore. This involves Rs 960 crore financial assistance from KFW and the state’s contribution would be Rs 240 crore.

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