Ultra-mega Indian solar plant to sell power at record-low rate

India’s solar industry has announced ambitious plans to construct a 4 GW mega PV plant selling solar power at just $89 MWh – a record-low.

The venture, which would more than double India’s current sun-powered capacity, is being driven by a consortium of six state-owned companies, which includes Power Grid Corp. (PWGR) of India Ltd., and Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL).

According to India’s joint secretary at the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Tarun Kapoor, the first gigawatt will be ready by the end of 2016, from which point it will begin selling solar power at just $89 MWh (5,500 rupees), which is 10 rupees cheaper than the current-lowest solar power bid, and approximately 32% below the global average, reports Bloomberg.

The solar plant will be India’s first of such an ultra-mega magnitude, and will rival the nation’s 100 GW of planned coal-fired plants that are also in the offing.

Kapoor stated that this clean energy venture will receive unspecified government funding, while BHEL will own 26%. Bids are expected to be sought for a contractor to design and then build the plant, Kapoor revealed. It is expected to be constructed on an 18,000-acre site near Sambhar Lake in the state of Rajasthan.

After the first gigawatt comes online in 2016, the remaining 3 GW will be put in place before 2020, which private companies may be invited to bid for.