Mann govt locks biggest solar power deal in country to usher in ‘green energy revolution’ in Punjab

CM Mann said that the solar power deal was taking the state into a new phase of renewable energy dependence.

BySouth First Desk

Published Aug 17, 2023 | 10:06 PM Updated Aug 17, 2023 | 10:06 PM

Solar power agreement Punjab

In what is expected to usher in a “green energy revolution” in Punjab, the state locked the biggest solar power deal in the county on Thursday, 17 August.

Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann announced that the government had signed an agreement to buy 1,200 MW of solar energy from Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN), a subsidiary of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) and a leading renewable energy firm.

Mann said that the deal — the biggest solar power purchase agreement in the country — would take the state into a new phase of renewable energy use.

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PSPCL floats tender

“Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) had floated tenders for procuring solar power from projects located in Punjab and elsewhere in the country. SJVN Green Energy Limited proposed ₹2.53 per unit from 1,000 MW in Bikaner (Rajasthan) and Bhuj (Gujarat) and ₹2.75 per unit from 200 MW at Hoshiarpur (Punjab),” said Mann.

The estimated daily production of green power is 83 lakh units. It would help in supplying power to agricultural tube wells during the day as solar energy would be available.

Aiming to further promote clean energy and to provide maximum power to agricultural tube wells during the day, PSPCL has floated more tenders to procure 2,500 MW of solar power.

Mann said that this tender was unique as it was the first time the Swiss challenge method was implemented to invite counter-bidding.

“The earlier bidding was ₹2.59 per unit, but it was negotiated and brought down to ₹2.53 and for 200 MW, the bid was made at ₹2.79 but finally came down to ₹2.75 per unit,” said Mann.

With this, the state government would save ₹431 crore in 25 years, he said, adding that to avoid transmission costs these projects would be started soon.

Also read: Previous governments looted Punjab, will be made to pay: CM Mann

‘Will soon take a revolutionary step’

“Previous governments had mercilessly plundered taxpayer money by signing agreements that benefited private players. Between 2007 and 2017, none of the projects cost below ₹7 per unit whereas the latest agreement has been signed at a nominal cost. Punjab would soon take a revolutionary step aimed at making the state power surplus,” said Mann.

The chief minister said that the rate in the agreement had been fixed for 25 years without any further rise in the cost. He further said that no transmission charges and no transmission losses would have to be paid by PSPCL.

The solar power projects would be made functional within 18 months.

The chief minister said the agreements inked with the companies had been made public “unlike in the past when these were veiled in secrecy”.

On the controversial power purchase agreements signed with four private thermal plants, Mann said that while the government was heading towards buying the Goindwal Sahib power plant, efforts were being made to revise the deals with other private thermal plants.