History lovers flock to Anantapuram for the many testimonies of its days of glory that time preserves here. Nature enthusiasts have the unparalleled Thimmamma Marrimanu, the largest banyan tree of the world, spanning over five acres as its chief attraction. There’s much for the religious folk as well, with Thimmamma Marimmanu itself as the chiefest among an impressive array of the 108 Shiva temples of Lepakshi, the 14th- century-built temple at Aluru Kona and the like. But, why would we energy folks be interested in this Andhra Pradesh’s district?
NTPC Limited (National Thermal Power Limited) is developing Ananatpuram Ultra Mega Park (also known as NP Kunta Ultra Mega Solar Park) as the largest single location solar unit with an installed capacity of 1 GW. There, you see us – we always have our ‘solar’ reasons!
In 2014, NTPC signed an MOU (memorandum of Understanding) with the Government of Andhra Pradesh to develop the 1000 MW solar power project in the state. Phase I of 7925-acre long solar park, with its target to develop 250 MW power, was commissioned in 2016. The project was executed by Tata Solar (100 MW), BHEL (50 MW), Lanco (50 MW) and Sterling and Wilson (50 MW). That Tata Solar used domestically manufactured solar cells and modules for such a huge undertaking, the largest of its kind at that time, was the highlight of this phase. What warms our hearts even more is the fact that the natural ecosystem of 500-acre area was left untouched – none of its streams and hillocks was touched! There’s more – the project was completed almost three months ahead of the schedule and, needless to say, remains the feather in the cap of Tata Solar’s achievements.
The Project Stage – I was declared fit for commercial operation on and from 9 May 2016 by the NTPC.
The 750 MW phase II of the solar project is under way. In the auction held in 2018, Sprng Energy Pvt Limited, Ayana and SoftBank Energy emerged as the lowest bidders, quoting Rs 2.72, Rs 2.73 and Rs 2.73 per unit respectively. Each of them has been awarded 250 MW of the project.
Phase II – Latest Updates
Recently, Sprng Energy has entered into partnership with Siemens Gamesa for its allocated share of solar project in Anantapur Solar Park. The Spanish based enginnering company, more known for its wind turbines, entered the solar sector in 2015. That it has successfully made inroads into the solar industry is evident from its already having commissioned 400 MW in India.
Our best wishes are with all the companies at work on Anantapur Solar Park Phase II. May they all succeed in gifting the nation the riches of renewable energy without causing dents in the local ecosystem of the land of the revered Thimmamma Marimanu.