NTPC bets on solar to power renewable energy biz

India’s largest thermal power producer NTPC, which in years to come will focus more on renewable energy, wants to increase its presence in solar power generation space.

Besides, it is also exploring the possibility of co-firing biomass with coal for electricity generation.

“It is a very good development that is happening for carbon-free power and NTPC is not wishing it away but working aggressively to be a part of it. Therefore, we are realigning our strategy and our business plan. Going way forward, our capacity addition will be less in coal and more in renewable energy space,” said Gurdeep Singh, chairman and managing director of NTPC.

However, the focus area will be solar photovoltaic plants rather than windmills as the prices of solar equipment including the photovoltaic plates have decreased sharply, making solar power cheaper and more affordable as compared to the wind.

This year saw aggressive bidding for solar power projects, with record low bid of Rs 2.44 per kilowatt hour or kwH for Bhadla Solar Park in Rajasthan. In the months to come, NTPC expects the solar power price to be in the range of Rs 3 to Rs 3.25/kwH.

The marginal increase in the rates is after factoring in the impact of goods and services tax (GST) on solar power generation as the new tax regime is likely to increase the tariff to some extent.

“We are planning to add renewable as fast as possible which is up to 25 gigawatt (gw) by 2025. Although what we have added as of now is 4 gw, including under construction and commissioned,” said Singh.

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