India is endowed with a vast solar energy potential. India receives one of the highest global solar radiation – an energy of about 5,000 trillion kWh per year is incident over India’s land mass with most parts receiving 4-7 kWh per m2 per day.Under Solar Mission, a central government initiative, India plans to generate 1 GW of power by 2013 and up to 20 GW grid-based solar power, 2 GW of off-grid solar power and cover 20 million square metres with solar energy collectors by 2020. India plans utility scale solar power generation plants through solar parks with dedicated infrastructure by state governments, among others, the governments of Gujarat and Rajasthan.
The Government of Gujarat taking advantage of the national initiative and high solar irradiation in the state, launched the Solar Power Policy in 2009 and proposes to establish a number of large-scale solar parks starting with the Charanka Solar Park in Patan district in the sparsely populated northern part of the state. The development of solar parks will streamline the project development timeline by letting government agencies undertake land acquisition and necessary permits, and provide dedicated common infrastructure for setting up solar power generation plants largely in the private sector. This approach will facilitate the accelerated installation of private sector solar power generation capacity reducing costs by addressing issues faced by stand alone projects. Common infrastructure for the solar park include site preparation and leveling, power evacuation, availability of water, access roads, security and services. In parallel with the central government’s initiative, the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission has announced feed-in tariff to mainstream solar power generation which will be applied for solar power generation plants in the solar park. Gujarat Power Corporation Limited is the responsible agency for developing the solar park of 500 MW and will lease the lands to the project developers to generate solar power. Gujarat Energy Transmission Corporation Limited will develop the transmission evacuation from the identified interconnection points with the solar developer. This project is being supported, in part, by the Asian Development Bank.