Cabinet nod for doubling capacity of solar parks to 40,000 MW

Solar Park, Gujarat, India

In a major push for solar power development in the country, a cabinet panel on Wednesday approved increasing the capacity of solar parks and projects from 20,000 MW to 40,000 MW.

“The enhanced capacity would ensure setting up of at least 50 solar parks — each with a capacity of 500 MW and above — in various parts of the country,” Power and Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal told reporters following a meeting here of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).

“The capacity of the solar park scheme has been enhanced after considering the demand for additional solar parks from the states,” he said.

“The solar Parks and ultra mega solar power projects will be set up by 2019-20 with central government financial support of Rs 8,100 crore,” he added.

When operational, this solar capacity will generate 64 billion units of electricity per year which will lead to a reduction of around 55 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year over its life cycle, according to a statement here by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).

The solar parks will be developed in collaboration with state governments and union territories (UTs) all of whom are eligible for benefits under the scheme. The state government will nominate the Solar Power Park Developer (SPPD) and also identify the land for the proposed park, MNRE said.

“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,” it added.

Goyal told reporters that for additional generation of solar power, use of areas like rooftops at airports and vacant land along runways is being considered.

MNRE is already implementing a scheme for development of 25 solar parks, with an aggregate capacity of 20,000 MW, launched in December 2014, it said.

Till date, 34 solar parks of aggregate capacity 20,000 MW have been approved which are at various stages of development, the statement added.