Solar power at Rs 15/unit

Business Standard 2008-01-16, Kolkata

After signing a power purchase agreement (PPA) with West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (WBSEDCL) for its 5MW solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in Bankura, Astonfield Renewable Resources (ARR) aimed to build a solid waste to power plant at Dhapa in Kolkata.

Astonfield Solar Private Ltd (ASPL), a subsidiary of ARRL, signed the PPA with WBSEDCL at a tariff of Rs15 per unit for the next 20 years. "Of this, the state government would pay Rs5 per unit of power while the rest would come from the Centre as a part of the subsidy scheme for solar power generating companies", said Sourabh Sen, co-chairman and director of Astonfield Management Inc., a group company.

The solar PV plant coming up over 26 acres would cost $21 million and go onstream in October 2009. It would produce 7 million units of power every year.

Sen claimed the company was in the final stages of negotiations with the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) to develop a 54MW solid waste to power plant at the city's waste disposal ground in Dhapa near the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass.

Sen said it would employ direct combustion technology to generate power from the solid waste deposited at the site which is roughly around 3200 tons per day.

The project would require around 20 acres for the purpose out of the 186 hectare area at Dhapa for the plant.

Eight technical proposals from bidders had been submitted for the project.

ARRL planned to develop the plant on a build-own-operate basis with an investment of around $100 million with 70:30 debt-equity ratio. "The power generated from the project would be pumped into the grid and a PPA with the West Bengal State Electricity Board would be signed", claimed Ravinder Raina, president of Astonfield Management Consultancy, one more Astonfield group company.