This week brought announcements from India and the state of Wisconsin regarding the repurposing of sites previously associated with coal-fired power generation for future solar power generation.
In India’s capital of Delhi, the 240-MW coal-fired Indraprastha Power Station, which was closed in 2010, will be the site of a new 5-MW solar photovoltaic installation. As India’s Economic Times noted on August 18, the solar plant is more symbolic than anything, given its capacity. Nevertheless, the support for renewable energy is seen as a rare point of agreement between India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, and Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi (who is a mechanical engineer).
One MW of the new solar facility is expected to be online within two months, in time for October’s India-Africa Summit, which is expected to attract leaders from more than 50 countries. The government is in discussions with the Solar Energy Corp. of India to develop the project, which is being seen as a pilot for additional projects at other old or shuttered coal power plants, including Delhi’s Rajghat station.
A day earlier, on August 17, Alliant Energy announced that its Town of Beloit property would become home to a 2.25-MW solar facility. Hanwha Q CELLS USA will design, construct, own, and operate the solar facility, which will use the site’s coal ash landfill. Alliant Energy said it is collaborating with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to enable the landfill site to be reused for the solar facility.
Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin utility has signed a 10-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Hanwha, which includes an option to purchase the facility, which is expected to be commercial in the first half of 2016, at the end of the PPA’s term.
The Town of Beloit property includes Alliant Energy’s Riverside Energy Center, its Beloit Operations Center, and the Rock River Generating Station. The company said the new solar project is part of its effort to “modernize the overall energy campus.” Alliant also has plans to build a new 650-MW natural gas combined cycle plant at the energy center. That project is awaiting approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, which is expected this summer. Alliant says that the solar facility will “offset the facilities’ power needs and improve the environmental profile of the project.”
Though small in size, this will be the state’s largest solar facility, according to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.
—Gail Reitenbach, PhD, editor (@GailReit, @POWERmagazine)