• Cabinet approves doubling of solar power capacity to 40,000 MW

    The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the enhancement of capacity from 20,000 MW to 40,000 MW of the Scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects.

    A press statement said that the enhanced capacity would ensure setting up of at least 50 solar parks each with a capacity of 500 MW and above in various parts of the country.

    Smaller parks in Himalayan and other hilly States, where contiguous land may be difficult to acquire in view of the difficult terrain, will also be considered under the scheme. The capacity of the solar park scheme has been enhanced after considering the demand for additional solar parks from the States.

    Solar equipment manufacturing

    Speaking at a press conference after the Cabinet meeting, Renewable Energy Minister, Piyush Goyal, said that the government is working on a policy to encourage solar equipment manufacturing in India.

    He said, “There is considerable interest to set up solar equipment manufacturing in India. The benefit of M-Sips will also be extended to solar equipment manufacturing in India.”

    Solar parks

    Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects will be set up by 2019-20 with the Central Government financial support of Rs. 8,100 crore. The total capacity when operational will generate 64 billion units of electricity per year which will lead to abatement of around 55 million tonnes of CO2 per year over its life cycle.

    It would also contribute to the long-term energy security of the country and promote ecologically sustainable growth by reduction in carbon emissions and carbon footprint, as well as generate large direct and indirect employment opportunities in solar and allied industries like glass, metals, heavy industrial equipment etc. The solar parks will also provide productive use of abundant uncultivable lands which in turn facilitate development of the surrounding areas.

    Solar power park developer

    All the States and UTs are eligible for benefits under the scheme. The State Government will first nominate the Solar Power Park Developer (SPPD) and also identify the land for the proposed solar park. It will then send a proposal to MNRE for approval along with the name of SPPD.

    SPPD will then be sanctioned a grant of up to Rs. 25 lakh for preparing a detailed project report (DPR) of solar park. Thereafter, central financial assistance of up to Rs. 20 lakh/MW or 30 per cent of the project cost, including grid-connectivity cost, whichever is lower, will be released as per the milestones prescribed in the scheme.

    Solar Energy Corporation India (SECI) will administer the scheme under the direction of MNRE. The approved grant will be released by SECI.

    The solar parks will be developed in collaboration with the State Governments/UTs. The State Governments/UTs are required to select SPPD for developing and maintaining the solar parks.

    Arun-III project

    The government also approved a 900-MW hydro power project to be set up in Sankhuwasabha district of Nepal at a cost of Rs. 5,723.72 crore.

    The decision to approve the Arun-III project was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here today.

    “The Cabinet today approved setting up of Arun-III project at an estimated cost of Rs. 5,723.72 crore. The project is expected to achieve financial closure by September this year.

    The projected will be implemented within five years,” Goyal told reporters at a briefing here. Jonathan Ogden Jersey

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