Buoyed by the allocation of 873 megawatt to Rajasthan by the Centre under the National Solar Mission phase 1 out of the 1100 MW, the state is planning to develop four solar parks of 1,000 MW capacity with a thrust on equipment manufacturing, says a Times of India report.
Speaking at the solar energy session on the first day of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2012, chief minister Ashok Gehlot said, “Solar parks of 1,000 MW capacity will be set up in Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Barmer. These enclaves will consist of various zones for activities like manufacturing, research and development, and training.”
He said 722 companies have so far registered for setting up of solar power projects, with a cumulative capacity of 16,900 MW. Including the projects already registered and the additional projects proposed, the sector is expected to attract investments to the tune of Rs 16,000 crores, he added.
Gehlot further said Rajasthan enjoys many advantages in solar energy generation with abundant land availability, availability of solar radiation at 6-7 kWh/m2 and availability of raw material used in the solar energy sector – zinc, molten salt and solar glass.
Union minister for new & renewable energy Farooq Abdullah, the chief guest of the occasion, drew attention to the need for research and development to give a push to the sector. “Investment and research in solar energy sector is a must as renewable energy can help preserve the global ecological balance,” he said. He appealed to the overseas Indian diaspora to look at investments in generating capacities and R&D and added that the sector offers good potential for profits.
Praising the efforts of government of Rajasthan on renewable energy, Abdullah said Rajasthan has huge potential for solar energy. Solar energy is already playing a vital role in Ladakh in street lighting, illustrating the solar energy potential of the deserts.
Vayalar Ravi, Union minister for overseas Indian affairs, said energy is the real force behind any development. He highlighted the advantages of solar energy especially in satisfying the basic requirements of rural India, generating employment opportunities and preventing migration to the cities.