|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
India is bestowed with solar irradiation ranging from 4 to 7 kWh/square meter/day across the country, with western and southern regions having higher solar incidence. With rapid growing electricity demand, availability of land and increasing reliance on imported sources of fossil fuel, India has initiated steps to tap into and develop the large potential for solar energy based power generation. In 2010, the GOI launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) to facilitate extensive solar power development. Achieving the ambitious target for 2022 of 20,000 MW will be dependent on the lessons identified during the implementation of the first two phases, which if successful, could lead to conditions of grid-competitive solar power. The transition to mainstreaming solar energy could be appropriately scaled up through capacity development of all the stakeholders related to issues of technology, finance, project management and policy development. JNNSM envisages setting up utility scale solar power generation plants through the promotion and establishment of solar parks with dedicated infrastructure by state governments, among others, the governments of Gujarat (GOG) and Rajasthan (GOR).
GOG, taking advantage of the favorable policy regimes and high solar irradiation in the state, launched the Solar Power Policy in 2009 and proposes to establish a number of large scale solar parks starting with the Charanka solar park in Patan district in the sparsely populated northern part of the state. The development of solar parks will streamline the project development timeline by letting government agencies undertake land acquisition and necessary permits, and provide dedicated common infrastructure for setting up solar power generation plants largely in the private sector. This approach will facilitate the accelerated installation of private sector solar power generation capacity reducing costs by addressing issues faced by stand alone projects. Common infrastructure for the solar park include site preparation and leveling, power evacuation, availability of water, access roads, security and services. In parallel with JNNSM, the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) announced feed-in-tariff to mainstream solar power generation which will be applied for solar power generation plants in the solar park and GOG launched the Solar Power Policy 2009 to meet the objective. Gujarat Power Corporation Limited (GPCL) is the responsible agency for developing the solar park of 500 megawatts and will lease the lands to the project developers to generate solar power. Gujarat Energy Transmission Corporation Limited (GETCO), with the mandate to develop transmission infrastructure in Gujarat is one of the Executing Agencies for the Project and will develop the transmission evacuation from the identified interconnection points with the solar developer. ADB funds to GOI will be on-lent to GETCO. Connection from the solar power plant to the interconnection point would be funded by the developer.
5. In May 2010, ADB announced its Asia Solar Energy Initiative (ASEI) to catalyze 3,000 megawatts of solar power generation projects from 2010 to 2013 in ADB developing member countries. As part of ASEI, ADB is taking a holistic approach under the project to catalyze development of the innovative public-private partnership (PPP) model of 500 megawatts solar park (17% of ASEI target) from public and private sector windows. ADB through TA 7099: Integrated Renewable Energy Development Program supported the development of the commercial agreements between solar power developers and power purchasers under the JNNSM. ADB also processed a guarantee facility to commercial banks to lend private sector solar developers. Through development of the power evacuation line from the solar park, ADB will facilitate private sector participation and develop a model that can be replicated to scale up solar power in a significant manner in India.