The Cabinet on Wednesday approved an investment of Rs 8,100 crore for setting up at least 50 solar parks and ultra mega solar power projects, power minister Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday. The investment would double the solar power production target to 40,000 MW.
India is ramping up solar capacity to cut reliance on fossil fuels and move towards clean energy as part of the broader compliance to Climate Change Agenda of cutting emission levels. After coming to power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid down an ambitious Rs 6 lakh crore investment plan to increase the solar power capacity to 100 GW by 2022.
Wednesday’s cabinet decision will help setting up of at least 50 solar parks each with capacity of 500MW in various parts of country, Goyal said after the meeting.
The solar parks and ultra mega solar power projects will be set up by 2019-20 with the central government’s support of Rs 8,100 crore. Smaller parks in Himalayan and other hilly states, where contiguous land may be difficult to acquire in view of the uneven terrain, will also be considered under the scheme.
The capacity of the solar park scheme has been enhanced after considering the demand for additional solar parks from the states, the government said in a release. When operational, the grid will generate 64 billion units of electricity per year which will lead to abatement of around 55 million tonne of CO2 per year over its life cycle.
It would also contribute to long term energy security of the country and promote ecologically sustainable growth by reduction in carbon emissions and carbon footprint, as well as generate large direct and indirect employment opportunities in solar and allied industries like glass, metals, heavy industrial equipment, etc. The solar parks will also provide productive use of abundant uncultivable lands which in turn facilitate development of the surrounding areas, it said.
“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 up to Rs 25 lakh for preparing a detailed project report (DPR) of the solar park. Thereafter, Central financial assistance (CFA) of up to Rs 20 lakhs per MW or 30% of the project cost including grid-connectivity cost, whichever is lower, will be released as per the milestones prescribed in the scheme.
Under the direction of MNRE, the scheme will be administered by Solar Energy Corporation India (SECI), who will also release the approved grant.
The solar parks will be developed in collaboration with state governments and the union territories, which are required to select the SPPD for developing and maintaining the solar parks.
Ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) is already implementing a scheme, which was launched in December 2014, under which at least 25 solar parks of an aggregate capacity of 20,000 MW are being developed. As on date, 34 solar parks of aggregate capacity 20,000 MW have been approved which are at various stages of development.