Damodar Valley Plans 1.7 GW of Floating Solar Projects in West Bengal and Jharkhand

The hydel power generator would execute the floating solar projects in four dams

September 28, 2020


State-owned hydel and thermal power generator Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) announced that it would now focus solely on solar projects to add capacity.

According to a PTI report, DVC has already proposed 1,776 MW of floating solar projects in four of its dams in West Bengal and Jharkhand. These two states jointly own the corporation along with the Union government.

According to DVC member secretary, Prabir Kumar Mukhopadhyay, the company would execute the floating solar projects in the four dams of Maithon, Tilaya, Konar, and Panchet. It would complete these projects in three phases, and the first will be a 50 MW project, according to PTI.

DVC had already floated the tender for a 50 MW solar project at Panchet (Jharkhand). Mukhopadhyay told PTI that the company has zeroed in on the lowest bidder for the Panchet project, and DVC would finalize the work order in early October 2020.

The feasibility study of the solar projects, which are likely to utilize about 15% of their capacities, was carried out by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI).

Mukhopadhyay said DVC has large tracts of land, and in the last two years, it retired old thermal capacities to the tune of 840 MW at Bokaro, Chandrapura, and Durgapur. Currently, DVC has around 7,000 MW of thermal power capacity.

Coal is losing ground rapidly in the country. Another major state-owned power generator, NTPC, recently announced that it would now refrain from acquiring land for new thermal power projects. By 2022, it plans to set up 10 GW of renewable capacity.

DVC is also concerned about the remaining 1,200-MW thermal power plant at Raghunathpur in Purulia, West Bengal, as the equipment is sourced from Shanghai Electric Corporation in China.

According to Mukhopadhyay, DVC is concerned about the maintenance of spares, which is critical for running the plant. The PTI report added that the company has sought clarification on whether to import from China or not. The indigenization of essential spares will take at least two years.

The state of Jharkhand is currently in the bottom rungs of the ladder when it comes to the development of solar projects. The state is yet to see big solar tenders being awarded for development. According to Mercom India’s Solar Project Tracker, the state currently has merely 19 MW of large-scale solar projects in operation.

Jharkhand has not been able to fulfill its renewable purchase obligation (RPO) targets, and there has been a considerable shortfall in meeting the RPO target since the financial year 2010-11 up to 2017-18.

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.