5 GW Indian solar park ‘crucial’

The chief minister of Gujarat, Vijay Rupani last week approved the installation of a 5 GW solar park in the Dholera Special Investment Region, which will be the largest such project in the world, when complete.

Speaking to pv magazine, Dharmendra Kumar, solar analyst at IHS Markit, says that while the project is still in the initial planning phases, it is a good sign that the state government has already identified the land – 11,000 acres – where it will be constructed.

“Since this land is under state government’s undertaking, there won’t be any delay because of land procurement issue, which is common with private lands,” he said.

While there are no details yet available regarding the construction or completion of the large-scale solar plant, or which technology will be employed, Kumar says that the park will be developed across a series of phases, with tenders announced for each stage with an upper tariff cap.

“Interested bidders will have to bid with prices lower than the set tariff. Bidders with lowest tariff quotes, will be awarded tender to develop, engineer and commission the project within stipulated timeline,” he says.

When complete, the 5 GW project will form part of the Dholera Special Investment Region (DSIR) and, thus, will be eligible for incentives covered under the scheme, continues Kumar.

The state government also plans to develop the DSIR as a global manufacturing hub, he says, from where manufactured goods can be exported to neighboring countries.

“On the connectivity part, this solar park will be directly connected to nearby metro cities like Delhi and Mumbai via National Highway 8, which goes from Dholera. Also, since Dholera comes under Port of Dholera, import and export of goods via sea route will also be easy for the solar park developers,” says Kumar.

Crucial development

This week, advisor to Bangladesh’s Prime Minister, Tawfiq-e-Elahi, said at the 16th International Energy Forum Ministerial, held recently in New Delhi, that Bangladesh will buy at least 2 GW of solar power from India, the majority of which will come from large PV power projects in the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan

Kumar says this announcement makes the development of the 5 GW solar project “crucial”.

According to the Q4 2017 India Solar Market Update from Mercom Communications India, Gujarat had installed around 1.4 GW of solar PV by the end of last December.