The Indian state of Gujarat is looking to get back the place it once enjoyed in the country’s solar power sector. The state has announced plans to set up a new solar power park, the largest in the country.Gujarat Chief Minister recently told media outlets that his government will set up a 5 gigawatt solar power park in the state. The solar power park will come up along the cost of Gulf of Khambat. A 200 megawatt wind energy park is also planned along with the solar power park. The state may be able to move at a rapid pace with the development of this solar park as it already owns the land identified to set up the solar projects. Government officials also reported that no separate environmental clearance would be required either.
The solar park may be developed on the lines of several similar ones operational or under construction in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Telangana, which have seen some of the lowest tariff bids in the India’s solar power history.Gujarat was the first state in India to explicitly come up with the concept of a solar power park in India. The state developed the Charanka solar power park even before the central government could hold the first national-level solar power auction. The Charanka solar power park was officially inaugurated with an operational capacity of close to 300 megawatts and was the largest solar power park at that time. There are reports that its capacity could now be increased to around 700 megawatts.
Gujarat has already approved the development of two more solar power parks with cumulative capacity of 1,200 megawatts. All these projects and parks are being developed to fulfill the state’s renewable purchase obligation and capacity target of 7 gigawatts by FY2021-22. This target capacity would include 5.5 gigawatts of solar power and 1.5 gigawatts of wind energy capacity.Gujarat organized solar power auctions last year as well as earlier this year. The latest auction witnessed an increase in tariff bids and was subsequently cancelled.