Indian states seem to have gotten into a race to develop the largest solar power projects. This competition is evident clearly in the case of India’s newest state Telangana and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.
The Andhra Pradesh government has announced plans to set up a 1,000 MW solar photovoltaic power project. The state had its boundaries redrawn recently after the new state of Telagana was born as the 29th state of India. Both the states have expressed shortage of power supply and power generation assets.
A number of private companies had set up gas-based power projects in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh due to the presence of natural gas basins along its coast. The natural gas production expected from these basins and required to run the power plants could not be realised, however. The matter has now attracted political and economic scrutiny while power plants remain non-operational for want of natural gas.
The erstwhile Andhra Pradesh government had signed an agreement with the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) in February this year to set up a 1,000 MW solar park in Mahbubnagar district. The district now falls within the boundaries of Telangana. As a result, the new Andhra Pradesh government is now planning to set up a similar project within its boundaries.
The trend to establish large solar parks was kicked off by Gujarat. Gujarat government established the Charanka solar park that has an installed capacity of more than 200 MW. The park has a capacity to house almost 600 MW of solar PV projects. With the establishment of the solar park, Gujarat became India’s leading state in terms of installed solar power capacity. Now a number of Indian states are planning to replicate this success.
The neighbouring state of Karnataka had announced plans in 2012 to set up a 500 MW solar park as part of its ambitious solar power policy. The central government is planning to set up four ultra mega solar power projects across the country. These projects will have capacity between 2,000 MW and 4,000 MW depending on the site. The finance ministry has announced an outlay of Rs 500 crore ($83 million) to set up these projects in Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat.
Image Credit: Gujarat Power Corporation Limited
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