India releases guidelines for ‘Ultra Mega’ solar power projects

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Guidelines for implementing India’s plans for 20GW of solar capacity from “Ultra Mega solar power projects” in 25 parks have been published by the Ministry of new and Renewable energy (MNRE).

Each of the solar parks will have a minimum capacity of 500MW to be set up within five years from 2014/15 to 2018/19.

MNRE estimated that the park plans will require an investment of INR40.5 billion (US$638 million) of Central Financial Assistance (CFA) from the Indian Government.

The Mega parks come as part of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), which is India’s main solar procurement programme, spearheading progress towards the target of 100GW solar deployment by 2022.

Benefits of the mega parks include cutting the costs of evacuating energy from scattered power projects and preventing delays from acquiring land and gaining various permissions.

In the guidelines, MNRE said: “The solar park is a concentrated zone of development of solar power generation projects and provides developers an area that is well characterized, with proper infrastructure and access to amenities and where the risk of the projects can be minimized. Solar Park will also facilitate developers by reducing the number of required approvals.”

The parks also aim to contribute to a state’s Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO) and provide employment opportunities to local populations.

Government wasteland, non-agricultural land, cold and hot deserts and sides of highways were all cited as potential locations for solar parks.

Land for solar parks has so far been identified in the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Uttarakhand.

On Monday PV Tech reported that business conglomerate Adani Group has signed an agreement with utility Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) to set up a 648MW solar park valued at INR45.4 billion (US$715 million) in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

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