India just made a huge commitment to solar power. They’re doubling the planned capacity in their solar parks program from 20 gigawatts (GW) up to 40 GW. The government has also given a green light to the program’s second phase.
India Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley said the government will move forward with the solar parks program’s second phase in a union budget speech. According to CleanTechnica the government’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has identified multiple solar energy projects that possess a cumulative capacity of 20 GW, and will add an extra 20 GW of capacity under the second phase.
Solar parks could be a huge win for India. CleanTechnica reports it seems many consumers aren’t aware of the benefits of rooftop solar, but also utilities aren’t well equipped to handle rooftop systems. But the government seems to recognize solar energy could be a perfect fit for the growing country that needs a renewable source of energy and also enjoys around 300 days of sunshine yearly.
According to a 2014 MNRE document titled Scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects, “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…The solar park is a concentrated zone of development of solar power generation projects, by providing to developers an area that is well characterized, properly infra-structured, and where the risk of the projects can be minimized as well as the facilitation of the permitting process.”
According to The Indian Express, the government has approved 33 solar parks in 21 states. CleanTechnica notes while the government has expanded the current solar parks program, the target for overall installed capacity by March 2022 in India is still the same at 100 GW.