Govt Okays Doubling of Solar Park Scheme Capacity
Decision taken by CCEA to raise capacity to 40k MW will require setting up of at least 50 solar parks with a capacity of at least 500 MW each
New Delhi: The government has approved doubling of the capacity of the scheme for development of solar parks and ultra mega solar power projects to 40,000 MW, union minister Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday.
The decision taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) will require setting up of at least 50 solar parks with a capacity of at least 500 MW each in various parts of the country. Smaller parks in Himalayan and other hilly states, where contiguous land may be difficult to acquire in view of the difficult terrain, will also be considered under the scheme, said Goyal, the minister for power, coal, renewable energy and mines.
The capacity of the solar park scheme has been doubled from 20,000 MW after considering the demand for additional solar parks from the states. The solar parks and ultra mega solar power projects will be set up by 2019-20 with financial support of ₹ 8,100 crore from the Centre.
Production of 64 billion units of electricity per year under the scheme will lead to abatement of about 55 million tonnes of carbon every year.
Goyal said the scheme will also contribute to long-term energy security of the country and promote ecologically-sustainable growth by reducing carbon emissions and carbon footprint, along with generating large direct and indirect employment opportunities in solar and allied industries such as glass, metals and heavy industrial equipment.
All states and union territories are eligible for benefits under the scheme, which envisages nomination of solar power park developers by state governments as well as identification of land for the proposed solar parks. The proposal will be sent to the renewable energy ministry, which will sanction financial assistance of up to ₹ 20 lakh per megawatt, or 30% of the project cost, whichever is lower. Solar Energy Corporation India (SECI) will administer the scheme.
Till now, 34 solar parks with 20,000 MW aggregate capacity have been approved and are at various stages of development. CCEA also approved investment of ₹ 5,723.72 crore by state-run SJVN Ltd in the 900 MW Arun-III hydropower project in Nepal. Financial closure for the project is expected to be achieved by September and is scheduled to be completed in five years. SJVN bagged the project through international competitive bidding and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Nepal and the company in March 2008 for execution on build-ownoperate-transfer basis for 30 years, including five years of construction period. The project will offer 21.9% free power to Nepal for 25 years and generate employment for about 3,000 persons in India and Nepal.
The project will provide surplus power to India, strengthening power availability in the country as well as economic ties with Nepal. The power from the project shall be exported from Dhalkebar in Nepal to Muzaffarpur in India, according to an official statement.