The federal government of India tries to lead the development of the country’s solar power park in Gujarat.
The Times of India has recently reported that the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) had approved the establishment of the 5-gigawatt Dholera solar power park. The project will be considered the largest solar power park in the country and the first in Gujarat after the Charanka solar park that had been established under the state policy.
Approval from MNRE came after Gujarat Chief Minister announced that his government would set up the solar park.
The decision to set up a new solar park comes nearly a decade after Gujarat started working on India’s first solar power park at Charanka. Today, Charanka hosts a large portion of Gujarat’s 1.2-gigawatt operational solar power capacity.
Under the 8% solar RPO target prescribed for all states, Gujarat should have an installed capacity of 8 gigawatts by March 2021-22, so the state has a lot of catch-ups to do. Despite being the pioneer in solar power development in the country, Gujarat now lags behind the likes of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and neighbouring Rajasthan.
Dholera is being developed as a Special Investment Region and several foreign companies like Airbus and Lockheed Martin have expressed interest in setting up manufacturing units in this region. Any upcoming infrastructure will require a power supply, and solar and wind energy is currently among the cheapest sources of power in India. Tariff bids for both are currently below Rs 3.00/kWh (4.0¢/kWh). Thus, the Dholera solar park fulfils Gujarat’s regulatory as well as economic obligations and requirements. Although, Gujarat doesn’t have a good experience in dealing with private thermal power developers and has seen a sharp decline in state thermal power supply in the past few months.
Apart from the Dholera solar park, Gujarat is also working on two more solar parks with a combined installed capacity of 1,200 megawatts. Dholera is likely part of the revamped solar park policy announced by the Indian government, wherein the planned capacity addition was increased from 20 gigawatts to 40 gigawatts.