As a number of solar projects are being announced and planned, the availability of land is bound to become an issue. The extend of land required as per guidelines currently available is about 5 acres per megawatt and the policy clearly mentions that the at least half the extent of area required for the project should be either owned or entered into an agreement of sale by the developer at the time of submission of the expression of interest.
It is also recommended that land under cultivation/ agricultural land cannot be used for Solar power projects. In India, this poses another challenge as land is a state subject and each state has different laws with regard to land acquisition, conversion, zoning and the end use. There is a further limitation that restricts the available parcels of land in a number of states given the evacuation criteria mentioned in the policy document.
A couple of days back , this article, analyzed the land situation in Gujarat, where 17 project developers are said to be vying for land.
Given these developments, Orissa seems to be moving ahead by identifying potential land for Solar Projects. This is a good step that the Orissa Renewable Energy Development Agency (OREDA) has undertaken as Orissa has had problems with numerous projects being delayed because of land acquisition.
The Orissa government has identified land for the solar power projects proposed by the Central sector utility major National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) in the state. The locations zeroed in are Bolangir and Boudh.
While about 300 acres of land is available in Bolangir, where Orissa Renewable Energy Development Agency (OREDA) plans to develop a solar park, about 90 acres of land is available in Boudh, sources said.
The science and technology department of the state government has identified these locations for solar power project following the interest evinced by NTPC to set up solar and wind power projects in Orissa with aggregate generation capacity of 500 Mw.