There have been a slew of official and unofficial solar
policy announcements coming out of India recently. Though most of these are
still preliminary, the new announcements by the NDA administration can be
categorized into three separate programs. Below is a quick summary based on our
talks with government officials involved in policy making -
Goal – to install 20 GW by 2022 (2.8 GW achieved so far)
A revised draft for JNSSM Phase II, Batch 2 is scheduled to
be announced by the end of October, following cabinet approval. As we noted in our
previous update, the new government wanted a larger solar program and has been
working on a draft for 3000 MW, effectively doubling the capacity compared to
their first announcement. The guidelines for the 3000 MW Batch 2 projects are
expected to be released in two to three weeks and the bidding process is
tentatively scheduled to be announced anytime between year-end and March 2015.
An important distinction in this Batch is that these projects
will be part of ‘solar parks’ (a large area designated for solar projects) that
will be set up by individual States. These projects will not all be announced at
one time. The first solar park for 1,000 MW (could be announced in blocks of
250 MW or 500 MW based on infrastructure availability) is expected to be set up
in Andhra Pradesh. Through creation of solar parks, the government is trying to
address the land acquisition problem, by having the states provide the land.
The bidding process for these projects will be handled by
NVVN. The remaining 2,000 MW will most likely come up in other states which
have shown interest in setting up solar parks, such as Telangana, Gujarat,
Madhya Pradesh or Karnataka. The bidding timeline for the additional 2,000 MW
will be determined at a later date.
2. Solar Projects by Public Sector Units
Goal: Not yet established
MNRE is asking the Public Sector Units (PSUs) to set up
solar projects to compensate for CO2 emissions. Under this scheme the National
Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is expected to announce 3,300 MW in solar
projects of which the first 1,000 MW will also be in Andhra Pradesh which is
bundled with allocated thermal power and will have the DCR mandate. NTPC has
already invited bids for 250 MW solar projects in the Anantpur district of
Andhra Pradesh. The location of the other 2,300 MW is not yet finalized. Coal
India is the other PSU which may be coming out with similar announcements.
3. Ultra-Mega Solar PV Projects
Goal: 20 GW
On September 8, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE)
announced a draft for a new program aimed at developing ultra-mega solar PV
projects totaling 20 GW through the establishment of solar parks (not to be
confused with JNNSM Batch 2).
The MNRE, through this scheme, plans to set up 25 solar
projects, each with a capacity of 500 to 1,000 MW. The ‘solar parks’ are
expected to be established in about five years. Once the solar parks are
established, the solar projects will be developed as demand and interest is
shown by developers. The objective at the state level is to bring in
significant investments from developers, meet Renewable Purchase Obligation
(RPO) mandates and provide employment opportunities to local populations.
Details of this draft policy has been covered in our September 15, 2014 Solar Market