Indian solar mission progressing well

Union Minister of New and Renewable Energy of India, Deepak Gupta, announced at the Intersolar India in Mumbai that the target for grid-connected plants for the first phase of the solar mission till March 2013 was 1,100 megawatts (MWs), which comprise of 100 MWs of roof top and smaller scale solar plants. The capacity of 1,000 MWs will be shared equally by solar PV and solar thermal projects. 184 MWs of grid connected plants are already commissioned by the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency and 84 MWs by NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN) under migration schemes. Gupta added that developers selected will have to strictly confine to the deadlines issues as there will be penalties.

NVVN will be leading the plan’s initial phase, fostering long-term contracts with developers to buy one GW of energy at the start. The price is set at 15.31 Indian Rupees (€0.26) per kilowatt-hour for solar thermal and 17.91INR (€0.30) per kWh for photovoltaics. This is about eight times the cost of conventional coal power. NVVN released on its website a list of 37 companies that have been selected to build solar power projects.

Lanco Infratech, KVK Energy Ventures and Rajasthan Sun Technique Energy acquired bids for projects up to 100 MWs in capacity each. 50 MWs capacity project bids were awarded to Godwari Power & Ispat, Corporate Ispat Alloys and Megha Engineering and Infrastructure. One of India’s top solar company, Tata BP Solar, have also announced their desire to expand production to cater to the meeting of the solar goal. Companies like First Solar, Suntech and Motech are also expected to be supplying critical raw materials for manufacture in the country.

Under India’s Solar Mission plan that was unveiled last year, the country aims to produce 1,300 MWs of solar power by 2013 and thereafter, an additional 10 GWs by 2017 and to fulfill the remainder by 2020.