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As per the tariff order notified by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) for the year 2015-16, the cost of solar power generated from solar power production units, which is the levellised tariff for 25 years, is Rs. 7.04 per unit for solar power plants based on solar photovoltaic technology and Rs. 12.05 per unit for solar power plants based on solar thermal technology. This was stated by Sh. Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal & New and Renewable Energy in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today. However, in the recent bidding for grid-connected solar PV power plants under National Solar Mission, in Bhadla Phase-II solar park in Rajasthan, lowest bid of Rs. 4.34/kWh has been received.

The Minister further stated that the land area required to set up solar power plants depends on the type of technology deployed and decreases with increase in the efficiency of the deployed technology. Current estimates are that to set up 1 GW of solar power, approximately 2,000 hectares of land will be required.

The “in-principle” approval of Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) does not support setting up of solar power plants on fertile or agricultural land. Generally, barren / waste lands are preferred by the developers as the same can be acquired easily at a low cost. Further, MNRE has come up with a scheme on solar parks, wherein land and other infrastructure for setting up solar power plants is readily made available to the solar power developers and for this, the State Governments have been asked to prioritise the use of government waste / non-agricultural land.