Indian State Of Rajasthan Simplifies Regulations To Boost Solar Power Capacity By 25 GW

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India is on a fast-track to boost its solar power capacity, and as the investors flock to its solar power market, no state would stand to gain more than the western state of Rajasthan.

Coal Tax To Fund India's 750 MW Solar Power Capacity Addition Plan In 2013
Reliance Industries 5 MW solar PV project in Rajasthan

The Rajasthan state government has a policy that dwarfs the national solar power policy itself. While the current national policy aims at 22 GW installed capacity by 2022, the Rajasthan solar power policy targets 25 GW installed capacity over the next five years.The state has about 600 MW installed solar power capacity as of now.

The state government, headed by the same Bharatiya Janta Party that heads the Narendra Modi-led national government, has announced several new measures to boost the expansion of solar power capacity. Earlier, a prospective project developer was required to have a minimum net worth of ₹2.5 crore (~$400,000) to set up every MW of solar power project. As per the revised regulations, this minimum net worth will be reduced to ₹1 crore (~$160,000).

The state government will also make provisions for possible extension of land leases from the current 30 years to 40 years. This would allow developers to plan for long-term investments, possibly consisting of other technologies such as wind energy (Rajasthan also has significant wind energy potential).

Another important change the new regulations would bring is the ease in approval of smaller utility-scale projects. Power plants up to a capacity of 10 MW would require the approval of a lower-level bureaucrat, which would hopefully reduce the approval time. Issuance of environmental clearance by the state pollution control board will be provided within 15 days.

The Rajasthan chief minister is believed to have tied her political ambitions with the state’s solar policy. According to government sources, she decided to close work on what would have been India’s largest solar park. The 4,000 MW solar park proposed by the Solar Energy Corporation of India had already entered the planning stage when the state government objected to it, calling the project a threat to a nearby bird sanctuary.

If the Rajasthan solar policy does go through a successful implementation, the state could make a massive contribution to the Prime Minister’s target to have 100 GW installed renewable energy capacity over the next five years.

Image Credit: Reliance Industries Limited, Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation Limited

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Mridul Chadha

Mridul currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.

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