The Delhi metro could soon go fully solar. The Delhi metro rail corporation (DMRC) is looking at the possibility of buying electricity from a 500MW solar facility in Rajasthan, a senior central government official said.
A senior DMRC official confirmed that the proposal might involve the DMRC signing a power purchase agreement with a third-party developer in Rajasthan. "We do not plan to spend any money of our own. We could bid out the contract via an open and transparent process," the official said, adding that the DMRC is looking at buying solar power at a tariff lower than '6.94 per Kilo Watt per Hour, the rate at which it currently buys thermal power. The official added that an initial proposal is likely to be moved within a week.
"In order to be carbon neutral and insulate itself from electricity price increase which has been about 20% per annum in last five years, DMRC is planning to explore the possibility of purchasing power to meet its entire requirement from a solar developer who will be selected through transparent bidding process," a DMRC spokesperson said.
At present, the Delhi metro has a peak power requirement of 150MW, which is likely to go up to 250MW by the time the third phase of its construction is completed. "Out of this, 50MW can potentially be met through solar rooftop power," the official said. Since the average plant load factor for solar power is in the range of 20%, it would require an installed capacity of 500MW, the official said.
The Delhi metro has about 1.2MW of installed solar rooftop capacity. A 500MW solar facility could involve an investment to the tune of '3,000 crore, which a developer would have to take.
A major stumbling block, however, according to the two officials, is that unlike Delhi, Rajasthan does not allow banking of solar power. The centre could take the lead in sorting out this issue between the two governments.
Further, the electricity act, which could be amended in the next session of parliament, may also require some tweaking for such a proposal to become viable