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Decks cleared for grid-connected solar project in Leh, Kargil

Friday, 13 Sep 2019
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The Central government has cleared the decks for Rs 50,000 crore grid-connected solar photo-voltaic project spread across Leh and Kargil districts in Kashmir.

The Centre has finalised the sites for the solar project, alongside implementation details of a crucial transmission link to ensure viability of the project. Pang, about 117 km from Leh, has been finalised as the revised site for a major chunk of the 7,500 MW solar project after an earlier proposed site ran foul of environmental norms.

Additionally, the project has been rendered viable by segregating the crucial transmission corridor for evacuation of electricity from the overall project package, as against a combined package under a single tender that was being offered earlier.

The transmission link has been routed via Manali in Himachal Pradesh and further to Kaithal in Haryana to ensure that electricity can be feasibly wheeled from the proposed project -- billed as the country’s biggest solar project in capacity terms.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is planning to eventually scale it up to 23,000 MW grid-connected Ultra Mega Solar PV project in Ladakh, with the 7,500 MW package forming the first part of the larger project.

The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) had issued a request for selection (RfS) earlier in 2019 for development of the grid-connected solar power project spread across Leh and Kargil. The total capacity of 7,500 MW was, at that time, divided into three packages of 2,500 MW each.

The first package was to be set up in areas tentatively identified in Zanskar sub-division and Taisuru block of Kargil district while the remaining two packages were to be developed at Hanley Khaldo area of Nyoma sub-division in Leh district, which has now been changed to Pang.

The scope of work will comprise setting-up the solar PV projects. The implementation of the entire power evacuation infrastructure (substations along with transmission lines), till the drawl point (tentatively planned to be located in New Wanpoh), which was originally envisaged as part of the single package, will  now be executed separately.

A tender will be issued for selection of the project developer, who will be responsible for setting up the solar PV project. SECI will enter into power purchase agreements (PPA) spanning a period of 35 years with successful bidders, who can avail fiscal incentives like accelerated depreciation, concessional customs and excise duties and tax holidays as available for such projects.

The project is being targeted for a stringent 48 months commissioning deadline from the effective date of the PPA.

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