New Delhi: The Indian government is aiming to create 10 solar zones across the country by 2021, which will each cover an area of 10,000 hectares of wasteland.
India plans to set up 100,000 megawatt (MW) of solar power capacity by 2022 and the latest initiative is aimed at showcasing such zones as a flagship facility to encourage project developers and investors.
In June 2015, the government increased India’s solar power target fivefold to 100,000 MW by 2022.
The 10,000 hectares of land required for every solar zone could be government owned or privately owned wasteland, uncultivable or fallow land. The ministry of renewable energy would extend an overall financial assistance of Rs.44 crore for the solar zones.
The solar zones will enable states to bring in significant investment from project developers, meet their Solar Renewable Purchase Obligation mandate and provide employment opportunities to local populations, according to the ministry.
“The state will also reduce its carbon footprint by avoiding emissions equivalent to the solar zones’ installed capacity and generation. Further, the state will also avoid procuring expensive fossil fuels to power conventional power plants,” the ministry said.
To showcase the synergy between various sources of renewable power, a solar zone will also display areas of synergy with other renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, for hybridisation.
All states and union territories are eligible to take part in the scheme. The solar zones will be developed in collaboration with the state government and their agencies.
According to a letter sent to all states by the central government informing them of the scheme, the state governments applying for the scheme will have to designate an agency for development of solar zones and also carry out a survey to identify land for such zones. After this, the central government’s Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) will work with states to finalise the zone.