State-run National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) is planning to set up a 600-MW solar power project at the Koyna hydel power complex in Maharashtra as part of an initiative to expand its solar portfolio.
The company is already carrying out the feasibility and financial viability study for the project, wherein it plans to set up floating solar panels with pumped storage system, a senior company official said.
"We want to expand our solar portfolio and we are continuously looking out for opportunities. We are looking at setting up a floating solar project of around 600 MW at the Koyna complex in Satara district of Maharashtra," NHPC Technical Director Balraj Joshi said.
The Koyna project, run by the Maharashtra State Electricity Board, is the largest completed hydroelectric power plant in the country with a total capacity of 1,960 MW.
It is a complex project with four dams, including the largest dam on the Koyna river.
Joshi said various departments are currently carrying out the feasibility and technical and financial viability studies.
"The gestation period of construction of hydroelectric project is relatively longer than any other projects. Also, the uncertainty of the monsoons and geological problems make it difficult to set up hydel projects."
"Therefore, we want to expand in the solar sector. At Koyna, we plan to develop the project on solar hybrid model," he said.
The official further said once the work commences, it will take almost five years to complete.
Once the report is ready, they will approach Maharashtra government seeking its participation in developing the project.
About the investments required for the project, Joshi said, "Cost per MW is likely to be Rs 9-10 crore. We do not have any problem in funding it. We may also seek financial assistance from the Centre and the state. But these modalities will be worked out only when the report is ready."
He, however, did not give a timeline by when the report is likely to be submitted.
NHPC also plans to set up 188 MW solar projects across the country during the current fiscal.
Last year, NHPC signed a memorandum of understanding with Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to set up projects to the tune of 250 MW.
Meanwhile, the central utility is also in advanced talks with Kerala, Andhra, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh for setting up more solar projects.
In Kerala, it will be setting up a 72 MW project and a 50 MW plant in Maharashtra.
In UP, it already has an agreement with Uttar Pradesh New and Renewable Energy Development Agency to jointly develop a 50 MW solar power plant.