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Canadian firms propose FDI for Odisha solar project on 2,500 acres

Business Standard:  March, 2014

Three Canadian companies, through a consortium, have proposed to invest about $1 billion (about Rs 6,100 crore) in Odisha for developing a 500 Mw solar power plant and solar panel manufacturing unit.

"As an AAA-rated company, we have the financial resources and ability," said Jason Deonarain, president of Sarus Solar Inc, the consortium of Canadian Solar, a manufacturer of solar panels and like equipment; Guycan Solar, an engineering procurement construction company and Mackie Research Capital Corporation, an investment firm.

Data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the US shows all districts in Odisha get an average solar radiation of 5.5 Kwh/sq m, with around 300 clear sunny days every year.

The feasible potential for power generation in the solar photovoltaic route has been estimated at 8,000 Mw by the Odisha Renewable Energy Development Agency, a state undertaking. The state is presently producing nearly 13 Mw of solar power, from units set up by private companies.

Recently, the government here had announced an Odisha Solar Policy 2013, in line with the National Solar Mission. Firms which decide to invest are to get exemption from sales tax and electricity duty, apart from allocation within the land bank created by Green Energy Development Corporation (Gedcol), the nodal agency for development of solar power projects in Odisha. The latter is a subsidiary of Odisha Hydro Power Corporation. There is nearly 700 acres of surplus land with the hydro power producer and the aim is to use this for establishing solar power projects.

But as the 500 Mw project proposed by the Canadian firms would require nearly 2,500 acres, Gedcol said the consortium might buy the land on their own. The latter's officials say they might, instead, prefer to install solar panels at several patches of lands as and when available with Gedcol. The 500 Mw generation could come in phases, too, they said.