Kolkata: The state Power department’s efforts to reduce dependence on coal-based thermal power and harness more and more solar power has received a big boost, with a private player submitting a proposal to the department for setting up a 800 megawatt solar power plant.”We have already held meetings with our engineers and are working on preparing a detailed proposal. It will be forwarded to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her approval. We are trying hard to ensure that the project takes off as this will be the biggest solar project in the country,” state Power minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay said on the sidelines of the 10th Energy Conclave 2019 organised by CII on Saturday. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAccording to sources in the Power department, the company that has proposed setting up of the solar project has already acquired 500 acres of land at a strategic location in the state. “They are ready to acquire more land if needed for the unit, but our department will have to make Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with them for purchasing power generated from the unit,” Chattopadhyay added. Land is a major issue in the state for big solar projects and so the Power department is coming up with small units for harnessing solar power. In the last three years, solar power generation in the state has gone up from 2 megawatt to 132 megawatt. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayChief Minister Mamata Banerjee has laid emphasis on solar energy through a project called ‘Aloshree’, under which solar panels are being set up on the roof of various government offices across the state. Solar panels have been set up in more than 1,500 schools and colleges. “Our department is also working on having a competitive rate for power tariff. The Damodar Valley Corporation’s power rate is lower than us. If we succeed in our aim then more and more industries will come up with their projects in the state,” the minister said. Chattopadhyay reiterated that Bengal is a power surplus state and ensures round-the-clock power supply for consumers, the number of whom stands at 1 crore 93 lakh. The department has also been able to tackle the problem of low voltage for both domestic and industrial consumers through technological intervention.