India could be the home of the world’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant, as the country plans to build a 4-GW capacity plant in the state of Rajasthan. When completed, this will be the biggest single-site solar PV project in the world.
The government of India has announced plans to build the mega power plant near Sambhar Lake, spread on 23,000 acres of land belonging to publicly-owned Hindustan Salts Ltd. The project was initiated by India’s Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.
The first phase of the project, which will be of 1 GW, will be implemented through a joint venture to be formed with equity from state-owned companies and government agencies. State-run power gear maker BHEL will build the first phase in consortium Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), Powergrid Corporation of India (PGCIL), Rajasthan Electronics & Instruments Limited (REIL) and Hindustan Salts limited (HSL).
The first phase is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2016. According to Ministry of Heavy Industries, the remaining phases of the project will be implemented through a variety of models based on the experience gained in the first phase.
The power generated at the site will be supplied to the distribution companies of several states through the national grid. “Government is considering a tariff of Rs 5.50 per unit of solar power generated for this project,” Ashwini Kumar, director (solar), SECI was quoted as saying in the Economic Times. He further added that a part of the finance could be routed through viability gap funding (VGF), while the rest would be tied through power purchase agreements (PPAs) with power distribution companies.
As of now, India’s installed solar power capacity is over 1.7 GW, and the capacity of this proposed solar PV plant is almost thrice the current capacity.