World Bank loan sought for Rajasthan mega solar power project

The ministry of new and renewable energy has submitted a proposal to the department of economic affairs (DEA) for approaching the World Bank for loan assistance of $500 million for implementation of the 750 MW first phase of the proposed 4000 MW ultra mega solar power project to be set up on the vacant land of Hindustan Salts Ltd at Sambhar, Rajasthan, at a total estimated cost of $1.09 billion.

The DEA is evaluating the proposal and once it is forwarded, the World Bank is likely to consider financing the project, minister of new and renewable energy Farooq Abdullah informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply on Friday.

The project is envisaged to be set up by a joint venture of six PSUs, viz, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, Solar Energy Corporation of India, Hindustan Salts Limited, PowerGrid, Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited and Rajasthan Electronics and Instruments Limited.

The government has not availed any loan from the World Bank in the 11th and 12th Plan periods for the development of solar energy in the country.

India is endowed with large solar energy potential - about 5000 trillion kWh per year - over its land area with most parts receiving 4-7 kWh per sq m per day, the minister pointed out in reply to another question.

The government of India is implementing various schemes for promoting the use of solar energy in the first and second phase of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM). These include:

  • Off-Grid and decentralised solar applications
  • Demonstration programme on grid interactive solar PV power generation
  • Demonstration programme on tail-end grid connected solar PV power plants
  • Selection of new grid connected solar power projects under Batch-I, Phase-I of JNNSM
  • Selection of new grid connected solar power projects under Batch-II, Phase-I of JNNSM
  • Migration scheme for grid connected projects
  • Rooftop PV and small solar power generation programme (RPSSGP)
  • Selection of new grid connected solar power projects under Batch-I, Phase-II of JNNSM

The cabinet has approved application segment wise targets for the three phases of JNNSM.

The grid connected solar power projects under Phase-I of JNNSM have been allocated through bidding process and the bidder has to invest for setting up of the project. Under Phase-II of JNNSM, 'grid connected projects' will be allocated to bidders seeking minimum viability gap funding (VGF). The process of bidding is under progress.

On the solar PV off-grid applications, the ministry receives proposals regularly from various states and union territories for installation of systems like, solar home lights, solar street lights, solar lanterns, solar pumps and solar power plants having capacity up to 100 kWp.

Currently, there is no general scheme for subsidy for the grid solar power programme. However, a scheme for tail-end grid solar power plants with limited coverage launched during 11th plan period had provision for 50 per cent capital subsidy on the installed cost of the plant.

Under the off-grid and decentralised solar applications scheme of JNNSM, the ministry provides capital subsidy of 30 per cent ranging from Rs30 to Rs135 per Wp capacity solar PV systems / power plants depending upon their configurations and capacities to various categories of the beneficiaries.

In special category states and like those in the north east, the subsidy amount is 90 per cent, ranging from Rs90 to 405 per Wp, though it is limited to government institutions like schools, colleges, hospitals, panchayats, police stations etc, the minister added.