- Indian government is planning to launch a solar zones policy in June 2016 under which one or more districts of a state will form a zone with a central office
- The policy is supposed to help developers and solar equipment manufacturers with all the relevant information in the zone
- Developers will have to procure land for the project by themselves; policy to aid them with the knowledge of available land
- No clarity as of yet on how this design will help solar equipment manufacturers
The Government of India is planning to launch a new policy for solar zones sometime in June 2016. The policy is aimed to facilitate project developers as well as solar equipment manufacturers. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Joint Secretary, Tarun Kapoor, was quoted by local media as saying that solar zones will be spread over one or more districts of a state to encourage generators as well as equipment manufacturers.
Each zone will have a dedicated central office to help project developers. The policy will arm the developer with the knowledge of available land, power evacuation locations, etc., as the developer will have to acquire land for the project. This is unlike the facility available under solar parks where the task of finding the land for the project is upon the implementing agency. Developers can either lease the land or buy the same to develop the project.
The government, on its part, will develop transmission networks to each solar zone to enable power export at different points.
However, the reports did not explain the role of this policy in encouraging solar equipment manufacturing. The solar cell manufacturing capacity of India currently stands at 1.2 GW, and for modules it is 5.6 GW. The Indian MNRE Minister Piyush Goyal has time and again put his weight behind local solar products manufacturers, especially after his country lost the case lodged against it at the WTO by the US regarding domestic content requirement policy (see Protecting Domestic PV Makers). Recently, he reportedly said that his government is thinking of providing direct subsidy to solar product manufacturers (see Indian PV Manufacturers).