: The State government will develop a solar park in southern districts with an investment of Rs 1,000 crore for generation of 100 MW, said P. Thangamani, Industries Minister.

Replying to the debate on the demands for grants for the department, the Minister said the Chief Minister's Vision 2023 envisages generation of 5,000 MW from solar energy in the next 11 years based on which the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) will set up solar parks to produce 1,000 MW through government and private companies in the next five years. In the first phase, Rs 1,000 crore will be spent on a 100-MW solar power scheme in southern districts, he said.

Officials of the Industries Department say TIDCO is in the process of identifying land as it will require 500 acres of land for a 100-MW solar park and has zeroed in on large tracts of dryland in Ramanathapuram and Nagapattinam districts and officials are still scouting for locations in other districts. The technology can be either photovoltaic or solar thermal, they add. National Thermal Power Corporation has shown interest in a 100-MW solar plant and five private companies have come up with proposals ranging from 15 to 25 MW each.

It is estimated that Rs 10 crore will be required for producing 1 MW of solar power. While TIDCO will develop the land with all the infrastructural facilities, including evacuation, the companies will invest in the technology and equipment.

“If there is any financial gap, the government will facilitate,” an official said adding that the plans for the first phase of 100 MW will take shape in six months when the shareholding patterns will be finalised. TIDCO, in partnership with private companies, will also set up a polymer manufacturing hub at a cost of Rs 160 crore in Vayalur village in Ponneri taluk of Tiruvallur district. Facilities will be provided for 100 units involved in manufacturing of plastic components required for ancillary parts for automobile industries. When this polymer hub becomes functional, it will provide employment to 25,000 persons, the minister said.

Truck terminal

A truck terminal will be built at SIPCOT's Oragadam industrial complex at a cost of Rs 10 crore for parking heavy vehicles to avoid congestion. Another Rs 20 crore will be spent on maintenance of any two industrial complexes every year. This year, Rs. 25 crore will be allocated for loans to small and medium enterprises at low interest rates to make them competitive.