KSEB revs up 1000-MW solar foray fearing Covid-sparked setback

Despite its preoccupations with coronavirus vigil, Kerala has maintained its focus on the 1,000-MW Soura solar project. The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has floated bids this week for setting up 150 MW of grid-tied residential rooftop solar project.

“We will not miss the deadline of tapping 200 MW in the first phase by June 2020. This means going ahead with fitting solar panels in select 42,500 rooftops,” A Nassarudeen, nodal officer of the Soura project at the KSEB, told FE. By 2022, the Soura project targets to add 1,000 MW to its grid.

Bids were floated to empanel contractors for design, supply, installation, testing and commissioning and 25-year maintenance. “Regardless of apprehensions and staff deployment because of the pandemic, we need to harness the solar power before the summer is over. Uninterrupted work flow will also keep the employment situation buoyant,” says the KSEB official.

Earlier, the KSEB had awarded 46.5 MW of rooftop solar capacity in a recently-conducted auction to Tata Power, Waaree Group and Inkel. There are, however, fears of slowdown in supply of imported components due to the shutdown in China following the coronavirus spread.

“Kerala will not go for power cut or load-shedding this year, thanks to the commissioning of Kudankulam transmission line. However, since the state is able to produce only 30% of its electricity demand, there is urgency in going for the solar energy project without losing time,” state power minister MM Mani said. Currently, Kerala produces about 200 MW of solar power.

The 1,000 MW Soura solar power project includes 500 MW of rooftop solar power plants in houses, schools, hospitals and commercial establishments.

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