In view of huge potential to save energy cost and provide clean energy to grid, Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL), a CPSE and the largest coal producing subsidiary of Coal India Limited, plans to set up solar power plants at its 12 locations. However, Odisha’s power distribution company WESCO has stalled expansion plans because of disputes of payment between the two companies.
A solar power project had been set up over eight acres of barren land in the Anand Vihar complex of MCL Headquarters. Power generated by the solar plant also feed the existing 11 KV grid of WESCO. Presently at the cost of Rs 2.07 per unit, the plant reduces is electricity bills of the company by Rs 40 lakh, a senior MCL official said.
The tariff fixed for the solar power in Odisha is nonviable for the producer, however, the state government is expected to incentivise green and clean energy sources. Solar power producers would eagerly waiting for a conducive policy to take up the proposed projects.
Talking to Rural Marketing, A Sridhar, general manager( E&M), MCL said, “We had commissioned one 2 MWp solar power plant in October last year at our headquarter where spare land was available. MCL has also identified 67 service building with total roof area of 65225 sq meters where roof top solar plants for a total possible capacity 4.6 MWp can be established.”
In the first phase 12 locations have been identified and Solar Energy Corporation of India has been entrusted with the preparation of feasibility report. “ After we get the report, further action will be taken to implement this project. With 4.6 MWp added, our solar power capacity would cross 6 MW in times to come. We need support from WESCO to achieve this target in terms of Power Purchase Agreement,” Sridhar said.
A senior WESCO official said that over Rs 237 lakh payment is pending with MCL and because of this no forward movement has been taken place.” however, MCL officials say payments should not be linked to PPA as the coal company also has a claim of Rs 347 lakh with WESCO.
“We have apprised the finalisation of the PPA issue to CMD, OPTCL and have got assurance that the matter will be taken up with the concerned officials on priority basis for early execution of PPA,” the MCL official said.
MCL expects early execution of the PPA for the excess energy from 2 MWp solar plant and that will give a boost to its expansion plans for solar energy. The coal major also expect a viable purchase cost as Rs 2.07 per unit is non viable for any producer.