The Chief Minister of Gujarat, Vijay Rupani, has decided to extend the validity of ‘Gujarat Solar Policy-2015’ up to December 31, 2020. The policy was previously effective until March 31, 2020.
The state’s energy minister Saurabh Patel added that due to the current situation because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state government has also announced ₹140 billion (~$1.87 billion) ‘Gujarat Aatma Nirbhar’ package under which the timelines of many policies have been extended.
The minister further said that the extension of the solar policy would enable the installation of solar power projects, captive power projects, and rooftop solar projects on government buildings and premises in the state.
Due to the extension of the time-frame of policy, the power distribution companies of Gujarat would be able to fulfill their targets of renewable purchase obligation, the energy minister added.
Previously the conducive measures in the ‘GujaratSolarPolicy‐2009’ were able to bring in over 1 GW of solar installations in the state and investments of about ₹90 billion ($1.21 billion) according to the government. The policy resulted in the setting up of India’s first and Asia’s largest solar park at the time at Charanka. The state also installed the country’s first MW scale canal-top solar plant at Chandrasan in the Mehsana district of Gujarat. Inspired by the success of the 2009 solar policy, the state introduced another solar policy in 2015, with an operative period of five years. The 2015 solar policy aimed to promote rooftop solar, solar pump installation along with utility-scale solar projects.
According to Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker, Gujarat accounts for 2.4 GW of large-scale solar projects in-operation, while nearly 2.3 GW is under development pipeline as of March 2020.
The Gujarat government has announced several measures to encourage the adoption of clean energy projects in the state.
In September last year, the Gujarat government relaxed the state’s solar policy to allow micro, small, and medium enterprises to install solar projects that are more than 100% of their sanctioned load or contract demand. Before the announcement, the Gujarat Solar Policy allowed commercial and industrial clients to install only 50% of their sanctioned load.
Previously, the state government also modified its land laws relating to the development of wind and hybrid (wind and solar) parks in the state.
In June 2018, Gujarat launched a new solar plus wind hybrid power policy in a bid to promote the simultaneous production of wind and solar power in the state.
Earlier, the government of Gujarat had approved a policy to develop the state’s small-scale distributed solar sector. A government official at the time had said that the policy would be in force for five years. Projects installed and commissioned within the operative period of policy will be eligible for benefits under this policy for the entire 25-year term of their power purchase agreement.