The right choice. Solar power makes its way to Ladakh

We suggested this way back in March this year. And finally, we see some action in Ladakh too. A land accustomed to thousands of travellers every year to witness the breathtakingly beautiful landscapes and the predominantly chilly weather will now source its energy from renewables. This comes after the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) recently issued a tender for two 1.5MW(AC) solar power projects at two locations in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir almost 6 months after the news broke that the state government had signed a MoU to develop two mega solar parks in the region worth a total capacity of 7500 MW.

The tender was issued on behalf of construction agency Military Engineer Services (MES), and is for the design, engineering, supply, construction, installation, testing, and commissioning of the two projects at Tangtse and Durbuk in Leh district (Ladakh) and will also include installation of battery energy storage systems of 0.75MW / 2.5MWh each at the two sites. The Military Engineer Serviced provides rear line engineering support to the Armed Forces, who are prominent in Ladakh due to the region’s proximity with the Chinese and Pakistan borders.  For the record, until recently, other than some small solar installations, Ladakh was powered completely by diesel-powered gensets, a crime really in a place with one of the most sensitive ecosystems in the country.

A key point of interest for the bidders will be the temperatures at the project locations which range from -30°C to 30°C at an altitude of around 3,000 metres, since winning bidders will also be responsible for successful operation and maintenance of the plant for a period of 10 years from the date of its first operation cycle.

The battery storage systems will be interconnected with the local distribution network and designed for maximum flexibility with regard to voltages, frequency, phase imbalance and protection requirements, according to the tender document. The whole capacity (3 MW) of the tender will be awarded to a single contractor and the deadline for bid submissions is 23 August 2018 and the successful bidder will be expected to complete the entire scope of work within 12 months from the date of issuance of Notice of Availability (NoA).

With the introduction of solar, the state will finally be able to source energy from grid-connected renewable sources. However, the way forward for Ladakh remains Solar-Wind hybrids which will also be complemented by the centre’s new hybrid energy policy.


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