June 9, 2016: The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) plans to set up second round of solar parks across India with double enthusiasm as compared to the first one. This second phase will set aside a segment where the solar power manufacturer will also be required to set up facility in order to store the energy in batteries.
The first stage of solar parks was formulated in 2014-15. Here, available land competent of hosting solar panels to generate 20,000 MW was required to be allocated and acquired, and the essential infrastructure like transmission lines, put in place for developers to introduce solar projects.
Identification of apt land
In the second round, the ministry is looking to identify land that can accommodate 40,000 MW across 25 states of the country. Upendra Tripathy, the MNRE secretary said that this will comprise of storage of around 200-300 MW.
So far, solar developers didn’t pay heed to storage, promptly transferring the power they generated to the grid. Storage is essential to guarantee constant solar power supply as power generation can differ extensively depending on the sun’s intensity. Some pilot schemes that entail storage are in the pipeline such as 100 MW of storage at a solar park in Andhra Pradesh, added Tripathy.
India to set up phase II of solar parks with 40,000 MW target
In the first round, the ministry provided financial support through viability gap funding (VGF) of Rs 20 lakh per MW or 30% of the price of initiating the park. This can be increased in phase II provided storage is included.
Tripathy said that the ministry is expecting that the storage will need a higher VGF. Also, the ministry plans to launch a National Storage Mission, he said.
He further said that the in the second phase, the ministry is set to strengthen the role of the state nodal agencies. The agencies will get the option to run their own solar projects and make profits from the revenue.
An industry analyst observed that international developers favor setting up their solar parks schemes since they don’t have to be concerned about obtaining land, which the government will take care of. Some foreign companies have also expressed desire to set up more solar parks.