The solar resource-rich Indian state of Rajasthan has launched its new solar power policy with a bang, signing an agreement with SunEdison.
SunEdison has signed an agreement with the Rajasthan government to set up 5 GW of solar power capacity over the next five years. The projects will be set up in a batch of 500 MW each. Critically, the agreement represents a fifth of the total solar power capacity addition announced by the government for the next years.
Rajasthan was among the first states in India to have a solar power plant. Some of the earliest solar power plants that formed the foundation of the National Solar Mission are located in Rajasthan. Still, the state slipped behind neighbouring Gujarat in terms of installed capacity. Since the launch of the Gujarat Solar Policy in 2009, that state has led every other in India in terms of installed solar power capacity and remains the leader to date.
The Congress-led union government had proposed a 4 GW ultra mega solar power project in Rajasthan. The work on the project had already started, but when the governments changed, both in the state and the centre, the project was reportedly scrapped. The new BJP-led state government announced a new solar power policy to add 25 GW of capacity over the next five years. Apparently, the new chief minister wanted to get rid of any legacy of the previous government.
Solar power sector is a major investment opportunity in the state and the new government seems to have realized and is ready to exploit it. The government recently approved some changes to regulations that would favour solar power project developers.
Rajasthan seems to be following the Gujarat model for the solar power sector. Gujarat invited several international companies to set up solar power projects in the state. This increased confidence among several Indian companies resulting into Asia’s largest solar park.
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