Solar Zones, Solar Parks and Floating PV for India, according to MNRE

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

8 thoughts on “Solar Zones, Solar Parks and Floating PV for India, according to MNRE

  1. Minwoo Kim

    Australia is water shortage. So Floating Solar Plant’s wonderful idea for Australia. Floating Solar Plant’s wonderful idea. And it’s very important to maintain effectively same direction and position on the water for floating solar plants. Because directional change of solar panels reduces electricity production. So floating solar plants also need the directional control mooring systems for their parked positions. Azimuth and position change of floating solar plants caused by wind, waves and external forces. Restoring Force Strengthened Mooring System for floating solar plants has been created by I N I WORLD in South Korea. This Mooring System generates Restoring Force immediately when floating solar plants are being rotated or moved on the water.

    In addition, you have to reduce vibration to install floating solar plants. Because, it can make micro-cracks to floating solar panels and the durability problem of floating solar plants. The risk of power loss in PV modules due to micro cracks is increasing. Vibrations caused by wind, waves and external forces. New Type Floating Body Stabilizer has been created in South Korea. The Floating Body Stabilizers generate drag force immediately when floating solar plants are being rolled, pitched and yawed on the water. You can see them in Ochang Dam natural reservoir, South Korea. I N I WORLD

    1. Major Sateesh

      Dear Mr Min Woo Kim

      Your proposal interests us. Kindly provide more details of your technology. Do you have proof of working for at least 2-3 years some where?

      Thank you

      Maj Sateesh

  2. Narasimhan Santhanam Post author

    Hi Mr Kim

    Many thanks for your detailed insights on the need for directional control and stabilization for floating solar power plants.

    Your inputs are absolutely valid indeed

    And all the best to your solution – from INI World –

    Do let us know of any other installations where you have installed them and details of each installation – your web site does not appear to contain these information.

    Thank you once again for your comment and insights

    Solar Mango

  3. VT Narendar

    If 1 MW of ground mounted solar panels cost Rs 6 crores/MW, how much more would floating solar panels cost?

    While it is a good idea to use water bodies for solar power plants,if they end up costing a lot more, then the whole plan goes for a toss…

    1. Narasimhan Santhanam Post author

      Hi Vikram,

      Thanks for the question

      While some of the private solar parks have reported some occupancy, many of them are still vacant, and the reason is simple: Their occupation largely depends on whether businesses are able to sign up good solar PPAs in the state in which these parks are located.

      Until the time captive solar picks up pace in India, most ground mounted solar farms will have a business case if they have a strong PPA! For instance, for some of the solar parks that were built in TN way back in 2013, we know that the key Problem why they have not been able to attract customers is the rather unorganized manner in which the TN state has been implementing its solar Policies, resulting in delayed and haphazard signing of the solar PPAs.

  4. Maj SK Singh

    Floating solar power plants carry significant risks and uncertainties besides much higher capital and o&m costs. The government should study any existing case before investing into this idea

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