Infrastructure delay hits solar parks

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Insufficient infrastructure and delay in site preparation at solar parks are preventing developers from setting up generation capacities, which could hamper the country’s target of having 100 GW of solar power generation capacity by 2022.

“The Centre may have auctioned projects in these parks, but inability of implementing agencies to complete land acquisition formalities in time has led to project developers winning bids but finding infrastructure not ready to start construction,“ said Priyadarshini Sanjay, managing director at consulting firm Mercom Capital Group.

There are 34 solar parks planned across 21 Indian states, where projects aggregating 20 GW have already been allocated. The ministry of new and renewable energy is considering increasing the capacity to be developed at solar parks to 40 GW.

“Project development is being hampe red by delays relating to infrastructure and site preparation issues,“ Sanjay said. “Project developers are citing issues including, lack of access roads, clean green lands, and clear demarcation of land areas in these solar parks,“ she said. Officials at government agen cies said state nodal agencies are working to resolve issues as they arise.

Mercom said in some cases, such as the Pavagada, Charanka and Kadapa solar parks, bid-submission deadlines for tenders have been repeatedly extended.

“The issues around solar parks are typi cal to the Indian solar sector,“ said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group.“Most policies are well intentioned with top-down goal setting, but the problem usually is on the execution side,“ he said.

According to a developer Mercom spoke to, recent auctions for projects in such parks infrastructure is not even close to being complete. The government is in a hurry to invite tenders even before they have completed land acquisition which ends in a delay of four to five months before the auctions happen, Prabhu said.

“Developers, meanwhile, are paying for park infrastructure that is non-existent.Much of the infrastructure is being built parallel to project construction and will be complete when projects are close to completion, which doesn’t help the developers,“ he said.After paying steep park fees, developers are having to build parts of the infrastructure.

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