Published on 26th September 2023
The Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park project is one of the top 10 largest solar power plant projects in India. It was implemented by Andhra Pradesh Solar Power Corporation Pvt Ltd (APSPCL). APSPCL - a joint venture between the state and central governments, was formed to oversee and implement the entire project. The entire project is a part of other such solar farm projects in Andhra Pradesh.
It has helped in achieving India's clean energy targets and decreasing dependence on fossil fuels. As per the joint venture agreement, the ownership shares are divided among key stakeholders: 50% for the Solar Energy Corporation of India, 41% for APGENCO (the state-run power generation company), and 9% for the state's New and Renewable Energy Development Corporation.
The Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park is located in the Gani and Sakunala villages of the Kurnool district. It spreads across a total area of 24 sq KM (9.3 sq mi). The project is a joint effort between state and central government with the latter providing land and overseeing the entire project at the local level through APSPCL.
Approximately INR 70 billion (USD 880 million) was invested in building the Kurnool Solar Park. This financial backing was a collaborative effort between the stakeholders. The solar power developers contributed INR 10 billion (USD 130 million), and the remaining INR 60 billion (USD 750 million) was sourced from APSPCL. The Union Government's subsidy of INR 2 billion (USD 25 million) further supported this project.
Additionally, APSPCL collaborated with developers to gather ₹500,000 ($7,700) per MW from each developer. This funding was channeled into a local area development fund aimed at enhancing the neighboring villages, which encompassed projects like road upgrades, drainage enhancements, and access to clean drinking water.
The solar park played a significant role in fulfilling the state's energy needs and enhancing the regional economy. Employing a workforce of 282 personnel, generated job prospects for individuals with varying skill levels. There were 499 jobs for expert workers, 228 for semi-skilled workers, and 555 for unskilled workers.
The solar park prioritized job opportunities for local skilled and semi-skilled workers. To boost local employment, GreenKo established a state-of-the-art skill development center on-site, providing training to local workers.
Solar power developers were asked by National Thermal Power Corporation Limited to submit bids for the first phase of the park on April 29, 2015, and for the second phase on May 21, 2015. NTPC conducted a reverse auction for a total of 1,000 MW of capacity. The contracts were given to solar power companies in the middle of December 2015.
The NTPC awarded a total of 1 GW capacity to the following winning bidders.
Spread over the villages of Gani and Sakunala in the Kurnool district, the Kurnool Solar Park covers an area of 24 KM2 (9.3 sq mi). This region is characterized by its arid climate.
The solar park has over 4 million solar panels, designed to generate power outputs ranging between 315 and 320 watts. A complex network of nearly 2,000 circuit kilometers (1,200 miles) of wiring interconnects these solar panels with four 220/33 kV pooling stations, each equipped with a 250 MW capacity. These stations are further supported by a substantial 400/220 kV grid substation.
The Kurnool Solar Park generates an impressive 8 GWh of electricity during sunny days. This is more than enough to power the whole Kurnool district, showing how important the solar park is for the region's energy needs.
The Asset Management team at Greenko is responsible for overseeing the operations and maintenance of the Ultra Mega solar park. Around 100 engineers and technicians, trained in both AC and DC systems, carry out daily preventive and breakdown maintenance. Their goal is to ensure that the largest Solar Plant in Andhra Pradesh and associated Grid infrastructure function optimally. They are also responsible for avoiding any drop in performance and ensuring efficient electricity generation.
To minimize soiling losses, specialized devices clean the solar panels regularly. Heavy-duty equipment is used to clear plants that might cast shadows on the panels, disrupting their efficiency.
The solar project has also implemented a rainwater collection system to fulfill all its water requirements. This encompasses tasks like cleaning solar panels and fulfilling other essential functions, all aimed at addressing concerns related to water scarcity. By adopting this sustainable technique, the solar park minimized its ecological footprint significantly.
The success of the Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park is a significant step towards achieving India’s renewable energy target. With the success of this solar farm in Kurnool, governments at both the state and central levels are committed to coming up with more such mega solar projects in Andhra Pradesh.
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