Clean Power

Published on September 15th, 2014 | by Smiti


India Considers Adding 20 GW Capacity Through Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects

September 15th, 2014 by  

India seems to be planning to significantly change the dynamics of its National Solar Mission, as it has proposed to add 20 GW through ultra mega solar power projects of 500 MW capacity or more.

Gujarat Solar Park | Image Credit: Gujarat Power Corporation Limited

The Charanka solar park in Gujarat has an installed capacity of 224 MW

The new Indian government has shown increased interest in implementation of ultra mega solar power projects especially since its leader, Mr Narendra Modi, pioneered the successful operation of India’s largest solar park in Gujarat.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy recently issued a proposal to implement 25 ultra mega solar power projects with capacities between 500 MW and 1,000 MW. The projects will be set up over a period of five years. Small solar parks of 100 MW each would be considered for small states. The government may consider solar parks of more than 1,000 MW capacity under special circumstances. The government itself has proposed four such projects with up to 4,000 MW capacity and made Rs 100 crore provision for them in this financial year.

The state and central governments will have several responsibilities to make such projects a reality. The state governments and authorities would be responsible for land acquisition, preparation, road and transmission connectivity and implementation of flood mitigation measures. This would significantly drive down the implementation time and cost of the project.

The central government would provide financial assistance to solar parks. About $41,000 would be offered for the preparation of detailed project report while about $33,000 would be offered on per MW basis. The government estimates that the total financial assistance would be around $670 million for 20 GW capacity.

Interestingly, the state governments and authorities would not be obligated to purchase electricity from these solar parks. The project developers would be free to supply power to whomever they want and whatever price they can negotiate. This could be a real game changer as it could attract several project developers. State authorities would be required to purchase at least 20% of the power generated from the solar parks.

Rapidly falling capital cost of solar power projects, availability of vast swaths of land, a substantial gap in supply and demand, and ignorance towards rooftop solar power projects among property owners makes ultra mega solar power projects a highly attractive proposition in India.

Indian regulators have already implemented regulations that require solar power projects to predict the expected power generation over a period of time. Combined with the ambitious program to set up a country-wide dedicated transmission network for power from renewable energy projects, the ultra mega solar power projects can play a critical role in strengthening the Indian power sector.

Image Credit: Gujarat Power Corporation Limited

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About the Author

works as a senior solar engineer at a reputed engineering and management consultancy. She has conducted due diligence of several solar PV projects in India and Southeast Asia. She has keen interest in renewable energy, green buildings, environmental sustainability, and biofuels. She currently resides in New Delhi, India.

  • luke

    this is amazing news. it would be impressive. developing massive infrastructure of zero pollution perpetual energy generation renewable energy sources is a brilliant investment for any country. and frankly we ultimately do not have much choice.

  • Philip W

    20GW is a seriously huge number. Hopefully they´ll be succesful in building this capacity in 5 years. India seriously needs it as one of the biggest polluting countrys.

    • Hello

      Per Capita pollution ???? Be serious

      • Philip W

        The environment doesn’t care about per capita pollution and neither do indian lungs.

    • Joseph Fernandes

      Congratulations to India.
      Ideal would be to have hybrid farms having solar wind and agriculture on the same area.
      What would be the top would be that the equipment came from India.
      All the best.
      Joseph France

  • JamesWimberley

    There is starting to be some pushback against the gigantism from people more influential than yours truly. From pv magazine (link):

    Mercom Capital CEO Raj Prabhu says that overall the program is a good sign .. However .. Prabhu questions the focus on very large projects.
    “Since the whole world is going towards distributed energy because of the drop in prices, why is India going in the opposite direction? India has 25-30% transmission losses, among the highest in the world. How does it make sense to have these sorts of centralized huge projects?”

    • Kevin McKinney

      Yes, reportedly (IIRC) transmission is a big part of the reliability problem.

      But if coal plants get shut down as a result of building these…

    • Mike333

      Since, now even Wall Street is seeing the 20 year timeline to catastrophic outcomes, having the State rapidly build out seems a good solution. And upgrading transmission lines, that’s hardly a show stopper problem.

  • Mike333

    Imagine the Health benefits for India as they Shut Down Coal. No Mercury, Arsenic or Uranium pollution to deal with.
    The only other thing they need is National Education of Girls and Women. The only Proven way to cut population growth.

    • No way

      India is down to 2,5 kids per woman in fertility rate and sinking fast. That is not far above the replacement rate of 2,1. So population growth in India is basically stopped already.

  • Mike333

    India to China and US: Go BIG or go HOME.

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