Rajasthan's new solar energy policy simplifies regulations for investors

Policy also talks about land allocation, a clause not mentioned in any other states’ policy till now

 
By Aruna Kumarankandath
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

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The government of Rajasthan has recently released a new solar policy, aimed at developing 25,000 MW of solar energy to attain self sufficiency. Rajasthan Solar Policy 2014 would act as an extension to Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) and Rajasthan Solar Energy Policy, 2011 and will remain in force until dismantled.

Vasundhara Raje, chief minister of Rajasthan, says, “I am confident that the new state policy shall usher in an environment that is congenial to investors and also be an engine to draw in the much required investment in the state.” The idea for the state is long term energy security, ecological security by reducing emissions, generating employment and investing in a solar centre for research and development.  

The policy promotes all the kinds of solar power—grid interactive projects under JNNSM, Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO), open access, captive use, setting up rooftop solar connected to the grid as well as decentralised distributed generations. Special emphasis has been laid on establishing solar parks by government (Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation or RREC), private solar developers and joint venture companies. 

Clarity on land allocation a priority
The policy also carries a clause about land allocation. This clause is not available in any other states’ policy. The energy minister of the state, Gajendra Singh, says that “abundant availability of land at the cheapest rate and an ‘investor friendly’ policy makes Rajasthan the most preferred state for solar power generation.” Allocation of government land for either solar parks or a solar power project has been streamlined in the policy (See table)

Land Allotment allowed in Rajasthan solar policy 2014 for various solar technologies (in hectares/MW)

S. No. Technology Maximum land which can be allotted
1 SPV on crystalline technology 2.5 ha/MW
2 SPV on crystalline technology with tracker 3.5 ha/MW
3 SPV on thin film (with or without tracker) 3.5 ha/MW
4 Solar thermal (CSP)- Parabolic trough/tower/other technology with or without storage a. Upto plant load factor (PLF) 21% 3.5 ha/MW
b. For every 1% increase in PLF 0.15 ha/MW additional land
   

 

Water supply-related issues addressed

Water supply is an important issue this policy has specified clear rules on. The plants would be provided with guaranteed water supply from the Indira Gandhi Nahar Project (IGNP) or the nearest water source available for solar thermal project. The Rajasthan government, back in 2011, had directed INGP to set aside water supply (12 cusec for 400 MW of solar thermal) for five solar power companies signed up under National Solar Mission. 

The state pollution control board has also classified solar power projects under “green category”. This is a new development stated in the policy and the government has also specified that the comprehensive consent be given by the state pollution control board within 15 days. 

The plan for the state is ambitious, but it has not imposed a deadline on achieving the target of 25,000 MW of solar power. Also, since the policy is accounting for projects set up under JNNSM, REC/RPO, open access and captive use, meeting this target, is very well possible. 

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