Making it the next hub for solar power in the country, government plans to set up 4,000 MW of solar thermal power capacity in Rajasthan.

"We have discussed the plant with the Rajasthan government and we aim to set up a solar thermal capacity near the Sambhar salt lake in Jaipur," said Farooq Abdullah, union minister for new and renewable energy.  

"We have a huge potential for solar energy and are trying our best to tap it to the fullest through a liberal solar energy policy where ample facilities are extended to investors on priority basis," Gehlot said while inaugurating a 55 MW solar energy plant at Ravra village along with Union Minister for renewable energy Farooq Abdullah. They also laid the foundation of a solar energy park at Bharla at Baap in Phalodi near Jodhpur. 

The state government has constituted a separate entity, Rajasthan Solar Park Development Company Limited, for better development and management of solar parks, Gehlot said, adding that Phalodi will have 1000 MW solar power plants very soon, which will make the region a hub of solar energy.

He said 899 companies have so far registered themselves with the government for setting up solar power projects with installed capacity of 18,476 MW all put together.

This CSP facility will be largest solar thermal park in the world . "It will be commissioned in phases. The first phase would be of 1,000 MW," said Abdullah. This would be the first such solar thermal power park in the country. 

The only solar energy plant in the country is based in Gujarat with a current capaity of 214 MW and is expected to generate 500 MW when fully commissioned in 2014. The park however acomodated only solar photovoltaic facilities. 

Rajasthan currently has 660 MW of solar power generation capacity and 2,700 MW of wind power. Concentrated solar power plant not only generates power but also caters to the fuel needs. Solar thermal is currently used extensively in pilgrimages and temples like Akshardham, Delhi and Shirdi in Maharashtra as kitchen fuel.