Published by firstgreen on

Accelerating the Growth of Solar Power in India

The recent downward trends in solar tariff may be attributed to the factors like economies of scale, assured availability of land, and power evacuation systems under the Solar Park Scheme. The scheme aims to provide a huge impetus to solar energy generation by acting as a flagship demonstration facility to encourage project developers and investors, prompting additional projects of similar nature, triggering economies of scale for cost-reductions, technical improvements and achieving large scale reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It would enable States to bring in significant investment from project developers, meet its solar renewable purchase obligation (RPO) mandate and provide employment opportunities to local population. The State will also reduce its carbon footprint by avoiding emissions equivalent to the solar park’s installed capacity and generation.

The solar park is a concentrated zone of development of solar power generation projects and provides developers an area that is well characterized, with proper infrastructure and access to amenities and where the risk of the projects can be minimized. Solar Park also facilitates developers by reducing the number of required approvals. The most important benefit from the solar park for the private developer is the significant time saved.


Solar power projects can be set up anywhere in the country, however the scattering of solar power projects leads to higher project cost per MW and higher transmission losses. Individual projects of smaller capacity incur significant expenses in site development, drawing separate transmission lines to nearest substation, procuring water and in creation of other necessary infrastructure. It also takes a long time for project developers to acquire land, get change of land use and various permissions, etc., which delays the project. To overcome these challenges, the scheme for “Development of Solar Parks and Ultra-Mega Solar Power Projects” was rolled out in December 2014 with an objective to facilitate the solar project developers to set up projects in a plug-and-play model.


It was planned to set up at least 25 solar parks, each with a capacity of 500 MW and above; thereby targeting around 20,000 MW of solar power installed capacity. These solar parks are proposed to be set up within in a span of five years commencing from 2014–15.

Progress Made So Far

Due to excellent response from the states, 34 solar parks of aggregate capacity 20,000 MW have already been approved in 21 states. The details of solar parks approved are given in Table 1.

In Andhra Pradesh, four solar parks with aggregate capacity of 4,000 MW have been approved.

The solar parks are: (i) August 2016 | Akshay Urja | 17 Ananthapuramu Solar Park (1,500 MW); (ii) Kurnool Solar Park (1,000 MW); (iii) Ananthapuramu-II Solar Park (500 MW); and (iv) Kadapa Solar Park (1,000 MW). The Ananthapuramu Solar Park and Kurnool Solar Park are at advanced stages of development. 250 MW has already been synchronized with grid in Ananthapuramu Solar Park (Pictures 1 to 5). The tariff as low as Rs 4.63 per unit has been achieved in Kurnool Solar Park.

In Rajasthan, five solar parks of aggregate capacity 3,351 MW have been approved. The solar parks are: (i) Bhadla Phase-II Solar Park (680 MW); (ii) Bhadla Phase-III Solar Park (1,000 MW); (iii) Bhadla Phase-IV Solar Park (500 MW); (iv) Phalodi-Pokaran Solar Park (750 MW); and (v) Fatehgarh Phase1B Solar Park (1,500 MW; 421 MW under Central Grants). The entire capacity of 680 MW in Bhadla Phase-II Solar Park is planned to be synchronized with grid by March 2017. The tariff as low as Rs 4.34 per unit has been achieved in this solar park.

In Madhya Pradesh, five solar parks with aggregate capacity 2,750 MW have been approved. The solar parks are: (i) Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Park (750 MW); (ii) Neemuch–Mandsaur Solar Park (500 MW); (iii) AgarShajapur Solar Park (500 MW); (iv) Chhattarpur Solar Park (500 MW); and (v) Rajgarh–Morena Solar Park (500 MW). The Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Park and Neemuch–Mandsaur Solar Park are at an advanced stage of development.

The Pavagada Solar Park in Tumkur district of Karnataka would be the largest solar park in the world with capacity of 2,000 MW once it is developed. The park is also in its advanced stage of development. An interesting thing about the Pavagada Solar Park is that the almost entire land (10,800 acres out of 11,000 acres) is private land. The Solar Power Park Developer (SPPD) could manage to take the land on lease for 28 years from the land owners. There are three solar parks in Maharashtra each of capacity 500 MW. Two out of these three solar parks are fully owned by a private agency.

The other solar parks are in Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Odisha, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal. Solar parks have also been approved in Northeastern states, such as Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, and Nagaland.

Solar Power Park Developer (SPPD)

The park developers are designated as Solar Power Park Developer (SPPD). The SPPDs for these solar parks are state government designated agency or JVC between the state government designated agency and the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) or JVC between the state governments designated agency and private agency or fully private agency.

Responsibilities of SPPDs

The responsibilities which are essential for the SPPDs are as follows:

ƒ Acquisition of land;

ƒ Getting land related clearances;

ƒ Developing approach road to each plot;

ƒ Developing internal transmission system and maintaining it;

ƒ Making arrangement to connect to the grid, i.e., ISTS or State Transmission Network;

ƒ Providing basic drainage; and

ƒ Providing water supply (minimum essential quantity).

The optional responsibilities of the SPPDs are as follows:

ƒ Levelling and developing of land (to be avoided as far as possible);

ƒ Construction of offices, housing, and common building infrastructures;

ƒ Forecasting, Scheduling;

ƒ O&M or related functions;

ƒ Solar radiation data;

ƒ Metalled road to all plots and within plots to each array;

ƒ Maintenance of internal power supply and water supply;

ƒ Security;

ƒ Cleanliness and waste disposal;

ƒ Technical support services (consultancy, etc.).


The cost involved in developing solar parks is generally being met from three major sources:

1. Grant from the Government of India @Rs 20 lakh per MW.

2. Payment by the solar project developers against land purchase or taken on lease by them, part of which is generally being taken at the time of signing of agreements.

3. Loan from financial institutions, if and when required.

Challenges and the Way Forward

One of the major challenges in development of solar parks is the acquisition of land. The lands acquired for solar parks are government land, assigned land, SJ lands and patta land. The other change is matching the timelines between development of solar parks including power evacuation arrangements and setting up of solar projects. However, with active involvement of the state governments, SPPDs, SECI, Power Grid, and STUs these challenges are getting over. Due to excellent response and more demand of solar parks coming from the states, the Ministry is contemplating to enhance the capacity of the scheme from 20,000 MW to 40,000 MW.

Contributed by Shri Anindya S Parira, Scientist ‘C’, (NSM & Solar Parks), MNRE, CGO Complex, New Delhi. Email:

Categories: Solar