According to reports, the Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister approved the scheme for setting up 25 solar parks each with a capacity of 500 MW and above and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects in various parts of the country where large chunks of land can be spared for this purpose.
These parks will be able to accommodate over 20,000 MW of solar power projects. The Solar Parks/ Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects will be set up during five years that is from 2014-15 to 2018-19 and will require Central Government financial support of Rs 4050 crore. 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.
The solar parks will be developed in collaboration with State Governments and their agencies. The choice of implementing agency for developing and maintaining the park is left to the State Government. The States, applying under the scheme, will have to designate an agency for the development of the solar park.
Thereafter, application may be made by the implementing agency to SECI for the grant of up to Rs 20 lakhs/MW or 30% of the project cost including Grid-connectivity cost, whichever is lower. The approved grant will be released by Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) as per milestones prescribed in the scheme.
All the States and Union Territories are eligible for benefitting under the scheme. Solar parks will enable development of solar power in remote areas where land is inexpensive.
As the transmission system will be developed for the entire park, developers will not have to set up their own transmission lines. This will not only save money but will also avoid damaging the landscape of the area as only limited transmission lines would be laid.
Developers would be able to set up projects very fast as they will not have to get statutory and other clearances. India will emerge as a major solar power producing country as nowhere in the world are solar parks being developed on such a large scale.