NLC India: Central Public Sector Unit With Largest Capacity of Solar Installed

The annual report issued by NLC shed light on the various developments and research undertaken in renewable energy

September 15, 2020


The Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) submitted its annual report for 2019-20, which said that it commissioned 1,421 MW of renewable projects in 2019-20.

With the commissioning of the entire 709 MW solar project in Tamil Nadu, NLC said that it became the first central public service enterprise in the country to have installed solar project capacity of more than 1 GW.

The 20 MW solar project in Andaman & Nicobar Island has also been commissioned entirely, the report added. While 2.5 MW was commissioned in December 2018, the balance 17.5 MW was commissioned in June 2020. The commissioning was delayed by three and a half months due to COVID-19.

NLC India had tendered the solar project with BESS to be developed in Andaman & Nicobar in 2017. The capacity tendered comprised two projects of 10 MW each with 8 MWh BESS.

NLC India_Renewable Projects Commissioned during 2019-20

According to the report, COVID-19 had little impact on the existing solar projects, but operating projects did suffer delays in obtaining critical spares due to the broken supply during the lockdown.

NLC also said that it had plans to set up a floating solar system to generate electricity to run a water pump for lighting applications. According to the report, a 200 KW floating solar pilot project at the Neyveli New Thermal Power Station was installed. After successful trial runs and tests, power generation has also commenced.

Renewable Power Generated by NLC India (2014-2020)

Under the research and development (R&D) initiatives undertaken at NLC, it has teamed up with the Institute for Energy Studies (IES) for lignite’s solar drying. Based on the outcome of the preliminary study, a pilot-scale study with a capacity of 1 ton/day was undertaken to study the feasibility. Lignite contains about 50-55% moisture, which is a constraint for transport to longer distances. A solar drying process has been developed on a pilot scale, and trials have been carried out. The calorific values of solar drying of Lignite have been increased from about 2700 Kcal/Kg to around 4600 Kcal/Kg. The trial run and characterization of the product are in progress.

According to Mercom India Solar Project Tracker, NLC India has nearly 1.37 GW of large-scale solar projects in operation.

NLC India emerged as one of the top utility-scale solar project developers in India in terms of installed capacity in the calendar year (CY) 2019. Together, the top three developers accounted for nearly 35% of total large-scale installations in 2019.

In July 2020, NLC entered an agreement with Coal India Limited, a Maharatna central public sector enterprise, to start a joint venture and develop solar and thermal power assets to the tune of 5 GW on a pan-India basis.


Image credit: NLC India Ltd. / CC BY-SA

Rahul is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Before entering the world of renewables, Rahul was head of the Gujarat bureau for The Quint. He has also worked for DNA Ahmedabad and Ahmedabad Mirror. Hailing from a banking and finance background, Rahul has also worked for JP Morgan Chase and State Bank of India. More articles from Rahul Nair.