Solar energy in Rajasthan: Sun shines in the Thar Desert

Rajasthan has emerged as the best destination for investments in the solar sector and the state has signed agreements worth Rs 2.59 lakh crore in this field

Representative photo
Representative photo

Prakash Bhandari

Rajasthan with an installed capacity of 8,644 has become the biggest solar energy hub in the country. It is followed by Karnataka 7483 MW and Gujarat 6052 MW. Rajasthan has emerged as the best destination for investments in the solar sector and the state has signed agreements worth Rs 2.59 lakh crore which is the highest investment proposal for any state in the country in this field.

As per a recent report released by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India, despite the challenging circumstances of Covid, the state installed 2,348.47 MW PV capacity in the last 10 months. During this period, it attracted a record investment of Rs 10,000 crore (US$ 1357 million) in the solar sector. The state made unprecedented progress in ground-mount, rooftop, and off-grid PV installations in the year 2021.

Under the Solar Policy 2019 and Wind Hybrid policy 2019, non-park based RE projects are also being developed in the state. The state government registered projects of cumulative 73280 MW capacity consisting of Solar 53,667 MW, Wind 5705 MW, and Hybrid Projects 13,880 MW. Out of which 31,600MW of Solar, 1365 MW of Wind, and 3070 MW of Hybrid Project have been awarded through various biddings.

Customised packages of private developers under RIPS-2019: The state government has granted customised packages for setting up of projects of cumulative capacity 34200 MW of Solar, Wind, Hybrid and storage with total investment of 1.67 lakh Crores.

Under the Customised package, the state government has received the following new proposals:

i. Torrent Power Ltd. – 4000 MW Solar Project

ii. ACME – 4200 MW (Including Hydrogen Generation)

iii. HEML- 4500 MW Solar Park & Captive Solar Plant

iv. JSW – 1000 MW Pumped Hydro Storage Plant

v. Renew Power Pvt. Ltd. – 4500 MW (Including Hydrogen Generation)

The state is putting sincere efforts into increasing the share of decentralised RE in total installation.

As of now, the state has installed a Solar Rooftop capacity of 543 MW and stands second in the country both in the installed capacity and achievement status against the MNRE target 2022.

The state was successful in installing 36.4 MW Rooftop Solar Projects under “Scheme 2014-15”, “Scheme 2015-16”,” Scheme 2017-18” with 30% subsidy in the residential, social, and institutional sectors.

“The state’s Solar Energy Policy-2019 has played a very important role for investors in the direction of making Rajasthan a leader in the field of green energy-clean energy. Also, the Rajasthan Investment Promotion Scheme, 2019 brought a revolutionary change in the field of solar energy in the state. Under this policy, in April 2021, customized investment proposals worth Rs 34,200 crore (US$ 4641 million) were approved in the hybrid energy sector in the state. Most of these are related to solar energy. The State’s solar power generation potential has been estimated at 142 GW owing to its favorable conditions. The State government has set an ambitious target of 30 GW of solar power generation by 2024-25” said the Chief Minister, Ashok Gehlot .

Rajasthan being a rich RE potential state has to be the major contributing State so that ambitious national renewable energy ( RE) targets are achieved by 2030. Rajasthan government has been always at the forefront and leading with commitment and best practices.

“Our state is already at the number one rank in solar power installed capacity in the country with a capacity of 8911 MW. Rajasthan's solar generation potential has been assessed at 142 GW. The state government plans to systematically harness this potential and has set for itself an ambitious target of 30 GW capacity by 2024-25 which will transform the energyscape of the state and the country. In 2011, we had formulated the State's first Solar Policy to kick-start the State's solar journey. I am glad to see that Rajasthan now stands as one of the top solar states in India.

"At this stage of the progression curve, the sector now requires a fresh impetus for the next leap. The Rajasthan Solar Energy Policy-2019 is a manifestation of a new, multidimensional vision for this sector. It aims at far-reaching interventions at all levels of the generation pyramid and across the consumption chain, involving all stakeholders, and employment generation for our youth.

Rajasthan is looking forward to targeting the installation of more than 80 GW of RE capacity in the State by 2030. RE investors and developers have huge investment opportunities in Rajasthan, be it ultra mega RE park scale, stand-alone large RE projects, decentralized solar plants or Photo Voltaic (PV) Rooftop installation business or RE manufacturing sector all is going to grow exponentially in a coming couple of years,” said Chief Minister Gehlot.

The Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation Limited is the nodal agency for promoting and developing Renewable Energy sources in the state. At the end of October 2021 Rajasthan has a total RE installed RE capacity of 13400 MW.

Installed RE capacity by source:

Solar: 8911MW·

Wind: 4326 MW·

Biomass: 120 MW·

The Thar desert, spread in 77,000 square kilometers area forming a natural boundary between India and Pakistan is the world’s 17th largest desert. It is the world’s ninth-largest hot subtropical desert which was once a curse and unfit for human habitation. But it is now thriving with not only solar energy but also with variants of renewable energy. Thar desert is the most promising solar hotspot in India, notwithstanding the recently discovered large hydrocarbon reserves of more than 3.6 × 109 barrel oil and oil equivalent in the Barmer basin.

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