The Indian state of Gujarat has released a new solar policy aiming to scale up solar power capacity in the state to 10GW by 2020, having jump-started utility-scale solar in 2009.
The ‘Gujarat Solar Power Policy-2015’, released by the Department of Energy and Petrochemicals, promises achieving this goal in a “sustainable manner”, acknowledging that renewable energy is still “significantly more expensive” than conventional sources such as coal-based power generation and that the state is wary of adding too much burden on consumers. This is despite recent auctions in the states of Telangana and Madhya Pradesh seeing winning bids with record low prices for India.
Gujarat's new policy aims to facilitate and promote large-scale solar while taking into account the interests of all stakeholders.
The previous Gujarat solar policy from 2009 resulted in more than 1GW installed with investment of INR90 billion (US$1.4 billion). It also resulted in Asia’s largest solar park at Charanka in Patan District and India’s first megawatt-scale canal-top solar plant at Chandrasan in Mehsana District. Canal-top solar, which saves water, land and generates clean energy, now also forms a portion of India’s overall 100GW by 2022 solar target.
The new 2015 solar policy comes into effect immediately and will continue up to 31 March 2020.
Under the policy, the state will facilitate rooftop PV with net metering on government, residential, industrial and commercial buildings. This contrasts with India’s Ministry of New and renewable Energy, which recently announced that it would not subsidise commercial rooftop solar.
Distribution companies will be able to meet their Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) by purchasing solar power both at a power purchase rate determined through competitive bidding. Solar developers can also sell power to distribution companies under the Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) mechanism.
PV developers will be responsible for obtaining the land to develop their projects.
PV manufacturer Wuxi Suntech, a subsidiary of Shunfeng International Clean Energy (SFCE), recently supplied 9.3MW of modules to a 13GWh Adani Power PV plant in Gujarat.
MNRE also recently released guidelines for implementing India’s plans for 20GW of solar capacity from “Ultra Mega solar power projects” in 25 parks. Gujarat was one of several states in which land for solar parks has been identified.