Coimbatore district, which is known for the large number of wind mills, is getting into solar power plants.
The district’s renewable energy initiatives now cover solar energy too. A one MW solar power plant has been set up in Coimbatore and the energy generated is supplied to the grid.
Nearly 25 km away from Coimbatore city, at Kuppepalayam near Annur, rows of solar panels placed on a seven acre site are part of the solar energy plant established by Swelect Energy Systems, which was earlier known as Numeric Power Systems.
The plant has both, fixed and tilting solar panels. Swelect has imported the technology from Spain and the panels tilt to capture maximum solar radiation and thus, have optimum energy generation. The company has also established a High Tension line to the nearest sub-station (3.5 km away) to supply the energy generated to the grid.
It took about six months to install and the plant was commissioned in May this year. The plant has been set up under the REC (Renewable Energy Certificate) scheme and the total investment is about Rs. 10 crore.
The plant functions from 6.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. and, on an average, 4,000 units of electricity are supplied to the grid every day. “The maximum generation is between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. There is generation even when there are rains,” says U. Arunachalam of Swelect.
N. Ananthakrishnan, Superintending Engineer of Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation, says this is the first large-scale solar power plant in Coimbatore region. Larger supply of solar energy to the grid will give voltage stabilisation.
Mr. Arunachalam adds that solar plants can be established anywhere in the State. Smaller capacity plants on rooftops are also becoming popular.
Swelect is in the process of setting up 1.5 kw solar systems for all the branches of a co-operative sector bank in the State, including the branches in Coimbatore and Erode districts.
Managing Director of Swelect, R. Chellappan, told The Hindu the company has established another one MW solar plant in Sivaganga district. It is looking at setting up 10 MW of solar plants every year across the country.
“We are also actively involved in rooftop installations and have completed more than 1,000 such installations in the country,” he says.
These are mostly for educational institutions, industries and commercial establishments. Power cuts are higher in rural areas of the State. Houses in rural areas with Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) systems have potential for solar installations, he adds.