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Gujarat to have Asia’s largest solar power park


Charanka (Patan) : Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi Thursday laid the foundation stone of what is touted to become the largest solar power park in Asia.

Modi said this would be the first solar power park in Asia with a 500 MW generation capacity at a single location. The state government had signed power purchase agreements for about 933 MW of solar energy, the highest in India’s solar power sector, during the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors’ Summit in 2009. The government had also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Clinton Climate Initiative of Clinton Foundation in 2009.

The Rs.10,000 crore ($2.2 billion) park, on the lines of an industrial estate, is being developed by the sectoral nodal agency Gujarat Power Corporation Limited on over 2,089 hectare of wasteland bordering the Rann of Kutch, in Patan district.

In the first phase of the project, 15 solar power generation companies would produce 176 MW on the land leased out to them for 30 years, whereas Gujarat Energy Transmission Corporation Limited would set up a pooling station.

Anita George of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank, hailed the initiative and said the IFC had invested $1 billion so far on manufacturing and infrastructure projects in Gujarat.

The overall project cost in Phase I would be Rs.1,287 crore, including Rs.351 crore towards the cost of land and power infrastructure and evacuation facility worth Rs.624 crore. When completed, the 500 MW facility would have investments of another Rs.7,500 crore and generate about 5,000 direct jobs.

The planning commission has approved a one-time additional central assistance of Rs.210 crore for development of the park. The Asian Development Bank has also approved a soft loan of $100 million for the project, including development of a smart grid for evacuation of power.

With this solar power facility generating 1,250 million units, the country would save about nine lakh tons of coal and prevent emission of 12.5 lakh tons of carbon dioxide per annum. The area has 330 sunny days annually with high solar radiation ranging from 5.5 to six kilowatt per square metres per day.