23 GW of solar parks sanctioned in India, Gujarat No.1

Gujarat, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh are emerging as the top destinations for large, utility scale solar projects in India, according to numbers from the Minister of New and Renewable Energy.

According to data for Government of India’s “Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects” scheme, Gujarat ranked as the state with the highest number of approved projects, boosted by the Dholera Park.

The numbers also revealed that a total of 26.5 Gigawatt of large-scale solar farms have been approved under the scheme, out of which only 3.3 GW has already been delivered.

In other words, work is going on in developing around 23.1 GW of solar power capacity. Given that India has around 23 GW of solar capacity at present, the projects in pipeline under the scheme are enough to double the total solar power generation capacity in the country.

Schemes covered by the project are eligible to get a subsidy of Rs 2 per watt, which works out to about 5% of the total project cost, assuming a cost of around Rs 40 per watt.

Under the scheme, solar parks may be developed by government agencies or private companies, who are given the designation of Solar Power Park Developer or SPPD.

Typically, projects have to be 500 MW or bigger, but the government has allowed smaller projects due to practical considerations.

India has a target of building 60 GW of large-scale, farm-based solar projects by 2022, out of which 46 GW has already been taken care of, going by the above numbers.

By far, the largest solar park sanctioned so far in India is in the ancient city of Dholera, with a size of 5,000 Megawatt (5 Gigawatt).

The second biggest is in Pavagada in Karnataka, at 2 GW, followed by Ananthapura in Andhra Pradesh at 1.5 GW.

Projects as small as 20 MW have been approved in North Eastern states.

Not surprisingly, Gujarat leads the tally with 6.2 GW of projects approved, followed by Rajasthan with 4.33 GW, Andhra Pradesh with 4.16 GW and Madhya Pradesh with 2.75 GW.

COMPLETED PROJECTS

While Gujarat and Rajasthan may be No.1 in terms of planned capacity, it is Andhra Pradesh that has the biggest solar parks in India at present.

A total of 1.55 GW of projects have been completed in this state. Andhra is followed by Rajasthan with 0.68 GW and Karnataka with 0.6 GW.

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