Nearly 20% of India’s solar installed capacity target for 2022 is supposed to come from solar parks. These parks have many solar power projects with a capacity of over 500 MW (appx), typically concentrated on a designated land and built and operated by various developers. Infrastructure required for solar power generation and evacuation is developed by implementing agencies designated by the government of India.
Solar power projects need very large portion of land. Typically, about 5 acres of land is required for 1 MW solar power plant and the requirement rises in direct proportion to the capacity of the plant. Therefore, for an average sized solar park of 500 MW requires 2500 acres of land.
India’s power demand follows a pattern of peaking during the day hours, and reducing during the night hours. Load is managed through supply variation from coal, gas and hydro power plants that have flexible mechanisms in place. As the integration of power from solar parks grow, the problem of balancing the load will become more pronounced, considering the variability and uncertainty associated with solar power.
The remote location of solar parks makes the evacuation of power a considerable challenge. The grid is often inaccessible from these areas and when it is accessible, the aggregate technical and commercial loses are high. Transmission lines from the site to the grid must be set-up for evacuation of power without loses.
Solar parks are very cost intensive. Huge costs are incurred by the implementing agency during the development of the park, which is recovered by giving the project site to developers at the premium. MNRE provides financial support upto Rs 2 million per MW or 30% of the project cost, including grid connectivity, whichever is lower.
The cost incurred by developers for setting up plants in solar parks is high. Consequently, the power produced becomes more expensive by Re 0.20-Re 0.40 per unit. With delayed in development of park infrastructure, the cost incurred by developers often works out to be more that that of buying individual land and setting up their own evacuation infrastructure.