T-Solar forms partnership to move into Indian PV market

The Indian state of Rajasthan will be home to one of the country’s first utility scale solar power plants under the Jawaharlal Nehru Solar Mission (JNNSM) as the result of the new partnership between T-Solar and Astonfield Renewables. Construction on the project has begun and it is expected to be operational in October of this year. The plant is expected to be worth five megawatts (MW) of capacity. The JNNSM has set the goal of 22 gigawatts of on and off-grid solar installations by 2022.

The project will utilize T-Solar’s thin film modules and Schneider Electric will be the engineering, procurement and construction manager.

While funding figures for the project have not been made public, the companies have announced that the project will be funded by loans from Indian banking institutions including the State Bank of India and the Export-Import Bank of India. Last week a report by accounting firm KPMG concluded that for the Indian solar sector to reach its potential $110 billion of investment is required. The report also noted that financing projects in India will require governmental support to be successful.

There has also been commentary in the financial press that banks and financiers may be reluctant to finance projects on the subcontinent as the industry there is in its infancy and risks and the level of uncertainty may be seen to be too high. The T-Solar and Astonfield project therefore can be seen as a major step forward as it is financed directly from the Indian banking sector.

The partnership between T-Solar and Astonfield itself is also of note, as it marks another foray into the Indian solar market by a major European solar company. On Wednesday Portuguese solar company Martifer Solar announced that it too was moving into the Indian market with a 25 MW project in partnership with Louroux Bio Energies.

T-Solar’s Juan Laso said in statement, "the Indian solar market is one of the key strategic growth markets for T-Solar and, as such, we have invested significant resources in identifying the right way to develop it." Astonfield’s Sourabh Sen agreed, "as the European solar markets cool, leading global solar players continue to look towards rapidly growing solar markets, particularly in India."