New RE park scheme may provide subsidies for floating solar projects

  • The scheme, which is yet to be finalized, may have additional subsidies for floating solar parks. Earlier there was a consideration for viability gap funding under a separate scheme for floating solar parks.

Rituraj Baruah
Updated21 Apr 2024
Renewable energy parks are designated areas used for generation of power through diverse clean sources with all amenities like land, transmission, road infrastructure, communications and water being provided for along with required approvals by the government. (Photo: HT)
Renewable energy parks are designated areas used for generation of power through diverse clean sources with all amenities like land, transmission, road infrastructure, communications and water being provided for along with required approvals by the government. (Photo: HT)

New Delhi: Floating solar projects—panels installed on water bodies such as lakes, reservoirs and ponds—may get a boost as the government is looking to bring them under a new renewable energy (RE) park scheme and give them subsidies, two people aware of the development said.

“A new RE park scheme is in the making. To support floating solar parks, government is looking at whether additional subsidy can be given to them,” said one of the persons mentioned above.

Earlier there was a consideration for viability gap funding under a separate scheme for floating solar parks. Now, however, the government is looking at giving subsidies rather than viability gap funding to floating solar parks.

Renewable energy parks are designated areas used for generation of power through diverse clean sources with all amenities like land, transmission, road infrastructure, communications and water being provided for along with approvals by the government. 

Under the new scheme the focus would be on having solar and wind energy sources in the same park.

The person mentioned above also said the renewable energy park scheme would be in line with the existing scheme for the development of solar parks and ultra-mega solar park projects, where subsidy is provided for development of these parks.

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Under the ongoing scheme for solar parks, the ministry of new and renewable energy provides central financial assistance (CFA) of up to 25 lakh per solar park for preparation of detailed project report (DPR). Further, CFA of up to 20 lakh per megawatt (MW) or 30% of the project cost, including grid-connectivity cost, is also provided on achieving the milestones prescribed in the scheme.

Under the new scheme, government would look at providing financial assistance to floating solar parks over and above such incentives for RE parks in general.

The ongoing solar park scheme was scheduled to end in the recently-ended FY24, but in December 2023, MNRE extended the deadline of the scheme till FY26.

The scheme was rolled out in December 2014 to support states and union territories set up solar parks with a view to creating the infrastructure needed for setting up of solar power projects.

Floating solar projects, apart from the doing away with the need for land acquisition, also help in conserving water resources by reducing evaporation. Floating solar projects, are however are more capital intensive compared to conventional ground-mounted projects.

According to a recent blog on blogs.worldbank.org, India has a potential of 280-300 GW in floating solar power. However, it noted that only a small fraction of its estimated potential has been installed in the states of Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, Bihar and Rajasthan.

If the plan to include floating solar under the upcoming RE park policy and provide higher subsidies takes a concrete shape it is expected that growth in floating solar projects would help in achieving the 500 GW installed non-fossil capacity by 2030. Out of the overall clean energy target, 292 GW has been pegged for solar power capacity.

Queries sent to the ministry of new and renewable energy remained unanswered till press time.

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