170,000 Acres of Land Allocated to Solar Park Program: RK Singh
The Union Minister of Power urged states to resolve land acquisition problems for Solar Parks
The Indian Government has to date approved 50 solar parks across 12 states with a combined capacity of 37,990 MW. Of the approved parks, 11 with a total 8,521 MW project capacity is fully commissioned and seven solar parks of 3,985 MW are partially commissioned.
Under the Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Power Projects program, the government has installed 10,237 MW capacity.
Singh also provided state and union territory-specific details of the solar parks and installed projects within them, as listed in the table below:
Land Acquisition for Solar Parks
The Solar Park program was recently extended and is scheduled to continue until March 31, 2026.
Implemented first in December 2014, the program was rolled out to set up at least 25 solar parks and ultra mega solar power projects with 20 GW capacity within five years starting FY 2014-15.
The target was later increased to 40 GW in March 2017, with parks proposed to be set up by FY 2023-24.
The program requires the solar parks to house projects of 500 MW and above, and smaller parks are considered only where there is an acute shortage of non-agricultural or contiguous land.
Singh stated that as of June 30, 2023, 170,000 acres of land had been acquired for solar park projects, and the development process is currently underway.
The land requirements for solar projects vary based on factors like the technology used, land plotting, and contiguity.
On average, approximately four acres of land is needed to set up 1 MW of solar capacity.
Renewable Energy projects are primarily carried out through private investments, and the acquisition of land is the responsibility of the respective project developers.
Land matters fall under the jurisdiction of the state governments, and they must resolve any obstacles related to land acquisition, the Minister urged.
Singh further added that certain parks approved initially were canceled due to issues such as forest clearance (e.g., Kaza and Kinnaur Solar Parks in Himachal Pradesh) and coastal regulation zone clearance (e.g., West Bengal Solar Park, Dholera Ph-II Solar Park in Gujarat).
The Ministry has been actively coordinating with concerned state governments to allocate barren land free from any encumbrances, excluding areas like forests and coastal zones, to develop solar projects, Singh said.
Under Mode-8 of the solar park program, both the state and UT governments receive a facilitation charge of ₹0.05 (~$0.0006)/kWh for power exported outside the state from the projects within the park. This charge aims to aid land acquisition and obtain the necessary statutory clearances.
In August 2022, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy expressed disappointment at the country’s slow progress in development and the shortfall in meeting the target set for solar parks.