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Indian centenary iron ore mine goes solar

Solar panels at the Noamundi mine. Photo by Tata Steel.

Tata Steel has just inaugurated India’s first solar power project located at an iron ore mine. The 3-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant is situated at the company’s centenary Noamundi mine, in the state of Jharkhand.

According to a press release, the solar plant will help the country’s second largest steel maker replace a part of the electricity it consumes from both the grid and from diesel-based generators. It is also expected to help reduce CO2 emissions by about 3,000 tonnes per annum.

All aspects of the project, from commissioning to building it, took place within the Tata industrial conglomerate.Tata Steel came up with the idea and will purchase the power at a fixed tariff, while Tata Power Solar and Tata Power Trading Company executed it.

The plant uses modules that convert solar radiation into electricity. This energy is then transformed through inverters to AC power at a suitable voltage and then fed to the utility grid. According to the company, if a complete outage takes place, the solar plant has the ability to synchronize with an existing DG bus at a processing plant in Noamundi and continue operation.

The solar installation covers 19 acres of land at an elevated reclaimed mining hill. Tata says there is enough room to expand the project and increase generation to 4.5 megawatts.