The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is planning a second phase of setting up solar parks across the country, twice as ambitious as the first. Unlike the previous one, the new round will set aside a portion where the solar power producer will also have to set up facility to store the energy in batteries.
In the first phase, formulated in 2014-15, vacant land capable of hosting solar panels to produce 20,000 MW had to be earmarked and acquired, and the necessary infrastructure, such as transmission lines, put in place for developers to set up solar projects. By the end March this year, 33 such areas in 21 states that could house 19,900 MW of projects had been identified — it takes about 5-6 acres to build 1 MW of installed capacity. While infrastructure at these places are at various stages of completion, some of the parks are ready to be handed over to project developers. Auctions have been held to allot some of these.