JAIPUR: The solar energy sector that took a big leap in Rajasthan in 2017 attracting Rs 5,000 crore investments is poised for an exponential expansion in 2018. After adding record 955 megawatt in 2017 which is 42% higher compared with 2016, Rajasthan is set to double the existing capacity from 2,246 MW to more than 5,000 MW in the next two years. The year just went by will also be remembered when the solar tariffs crashed to new low of Rs 2.44 per KWh in the country for a 200 MW project in Rajasthan bagged by ACME Solar.
“Solar sector became a running theme in the country in 2017 and Rajasthan was at the centre of it, not only attracting investments of about Rs 5,000 crore but becoming the ground zero for trends in tariffs, strategies and development. Companies offered lowest tariffs to consumers for projects in Rajasthan underscoring the state’s strong fundamentals. But what we see unfolding in the next two years is at a much larger scale,” said B K Doshi, managing director, Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation Ltd.
All the big players in the solar industry that includes SoftBank, Azure, ACME Solar, etc have set their foot in the state. Dedicated solar parks with all the necessary infrastructure have been a big draw for them. Badhla solar park near Jodhpur with a capacity of 2,250 MW is filled up. The state government has lined up more such parks to build on the momentum.
“A solar park with a capacity of 750 MW is coming up at Phalodi-Pokhran. A joint venture between Essel Infra and the state government, the development of the park will start from March 2018. Similarly, RREC is developing its own park at Nokha in Jaisalmer that will have a capacity of 980 MW. The development of the park will start again in March 2018,” added Doshi.
In the past two years, Telengana has also accelerated development of solar sector in the state. Currently, the southern state has the maximum capacity of 2,570 MW after Rajasthan. But the project pipeline is not as strong as Rajasthan which is expected to race ahead in the next two years.
“Already 1,000 MW has been awarded in Rajasthan early this year. Another 2,000 MW is at the tendering stage. I don’t see any other state to have such a robust pipeline of projects and this will further strengthen the leadership position of Rajasthan in the solar sector and the state will remain the number one destination in the country,” said Sunil Bansal, general secretary, Rajasthan Solar Association.
According to Doshi, a capacity of 1,500 MW is expected to come up in 2018-19 and 1730 MW in 2019-20. As per industry estimates, one megawatt requires investments of Rs 5 crore. This means Rajasthan solar industry is going to attract investments worth Rs 16,000 crore in the next two years.