- India has officially approved increasing the capacity target under the Scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects
- Now, the country will chase the target of developing 40,000 MW capacity under the scheme, twice as much as the 20,000 MW targeted earlier
- MNRE says that at least 50 solar parks with a capacity of 500 MW each or more would be needed to meet the new target
States had been asking to increase the capacity for solar parks
- Even those states that do not have a contiguous stretch of land will also be considered
The union cabinet in India chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given the green signal to increasing solar park capacity to 40,000 MW, from the earlier target of 20,000 MW. MNRE had been mulling to increase the targeted capacity for the Scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects since last year (see India Doubles Solar Park Target).
The government acted on the demand for additional parks from the states.
MNRE says the increase will translate into setting up of at least 50 solar parks with a capacity of 500 MW each or more across the country. The new target would apply also to those states where contiguous land is difficult to acquire.
These projects will be set up by fiscal year 2019-20 with financial support from the Central Government amounting to 81 billion INR ($1.21 billion). As per government estimates, the entire capacity is likely to generate 64 billion kWh of clean power annually.
MNRE’s existing scheme ensures development of 25 solar parks with an aggregate capacity of 20,000 MW. It was launched in December 2014. The Ministry informed that as of today, 34 solar parks with an aggregate capacity of 20,000 MW has been approved. They are at various stages of development.
These parks will be developed in collaboration with state governments and union territories. As for the process, the ministry will go by the following procedure:
“All the States and UTs are eligible for benefits under the scheme. The State Government will first nominate the Solar Power Park Developer (SPPD) and also identify the land for the proposed solar park. It will then send a proposal to MNRE for approval along with the name of the SPPD. The SPPD will then be sanctioned a grant of upto 2.5 million INR ($37,000) for preparing a Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the Solar Park. Thereafter, Central Financial Assistance (CFA) of up to 2 million INR/MW ($30,000) or 30 percent of the project cost including Grid-connectivity cost, whichever is lower, will be released as per the milestones prescribed in the scheme. Solar Energy Corporation India (SECI) will administer the scheme under the direction of MNRE. The approved grant will be released by SECI.”