The Department of Energy and Petrochemicals has released a new solar policy for the Indian state of Gujarat which aims to scale up solar power generation to 10 GW by 2020.
The new policy (called “Gujarat Solar Policy-2015”) promises to achieve solar energy targets in a sustainable manner. The policy, effective till March 2020, aims to encourage investors to set up large-scale solar projects along with extra emphasis given on smaller generation units, mainly kilowatt (kW)-scale solar projects in the form of solar rooftop systems. According to the policy document, solar power generators (SPGs) that install and commission solar projects during the operative period will be eligible for the benefits and incentives for a period of 25 years from the date of commissioning.
The policy document states that the minimum size of a MW-scale project would be 1 MW, and it will be 1 kW for a kW-scale project. The new solar policy is believed to be in line with the State’s Industrial Policy 2015, which promotes the “Make in India,” a campaign which encourages local manufacturing.
This is the second solar policy announced by the Gujarat government. The first policy was unveiled in 2009 and had resulted in the installation of more than 1 GW of solar projects with a total investment of $1.4 billion. The policy also resulted in the implementation of Asia’s biggest solar park at Charanka and India’s first-of-a-kind canal-top solar project at Mehasana district of Gujarat.
Unlike the old policy, the new policy aims to provide emphasis on decentralised solar power generation, which will help the end-consumer directly. It also aims to promote several modes of generation, including rooftop solar, distribution of solar-powered pumps to farmers, and standalone solar photovoltaic systems for individual homes.
Under the policy, any surplus energy generated and exported after adjustment of the consumption at the end of the billing cycle shall be purchased by the concerned distribution company and this will benefit the distribution companies in that it will help them to fulfill their Renewable Energy Purchase Obligations (RPOs).
Currently, Gujarat stands second, after Rajasthan, in terms of solar projects installation, with more than 1 GW of grid-connected solar projects.