At the recently concluded Intersolar conference, MNRE officials put forth a number of ideas they are working on for the growth of the solar industry, especially grid-connected solar industry in India.

To this end, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has written to state governments instructing them to set up new ‘solar zones’ to encourage private sector development of large-scale PV projects. In this context, it is reported that next year some capacity is expected to be commissioned for four Indian solar projects, which could become the four largest in the world when fully built.

What are solar zones and solar parks?

Solar Parks

Here is a detailed blog post I had put in on the concept of solar parks.

Citing one 1.5 GW solar park and two 1 GW solar parks in Andhra Pradesh as well as a 2 GW park in Karnataka, among others, Kapoor claimed: “By next year I expect at least four or five single location installations, which will be the biggest in the world. There will be commissioned capacity in these parks by next year.

MNRE is now due to sanction another 1.5GW of solar parks in order to prepare to reach its target of 20GW of parks.

Solar Zones

The MNRE official told that state governments are already offering to take up the new prospect of the so-called solar zones. These solar zones will be even larger than the mega solar parks conceived by the MNRE.

Unlike with the solar parks, the government will not purchase land for the solar zones. However, the land areas will be far larger and the government will acquire transmission facilities and provide certain infrastructure facilities such as roads and water. While land acquisition will be left to PV developers, MNRE will provide information on where government and private land is available.

Kapoor said there will be at least three or four solar zones and they will be announced within the next two months.

Canal Top & Floating Solar Power Plants

Kapoor also updated on India’s canal top and canal bank solar installations where a total of 100MW has been commissioned including a 10MW project in Gujarat.

He also announced that MNRE is now looking at floating solar on reservoirs. The ministry has prepared a plan and calculated that using just 1% of the surface area of India’s reservoirs is enough for 10GW of solar.

Kapoor added: “There is also a lot of waste land available around these reservoirs so that is another big potential area. Floating solar on these reservoirs is the next thing we are going to try out.”

Source cfedit: PV Tech