Indian state utility NTPC given green light for 15 GW solar plan

India’s union cabinet approved on Wednesday a proposal from state utility NTPC Ltd to develop 15 GW of grid-connected solar PV projects in the country.

The proposal will be completed in three tranches under the country’s National Solar Mission, with NTPC first developing a 3 GW project under Tranche-1, which, as part of Batch-II, Phase-II of the National Solar Mission, will be bundled with unallocated thermal power (at 1.5 GW) at a ratio of 2:1.

The second tranche will be a 5 GW project, for which the government is yet to decide how it will support the solar rollout, while the third and final tranche – 7 GW of grid-connected PV – will receive no financial support from the government.

Under the first tranche, 1 GW of the proposed 3 GW rollout will be developed on land already identified in Andhra Pradesh, with the remaining 2 GW of solar capacity available to any states that come forward with an interest in developing project.

Total investment in Tranche-1 is expected to top Rs. 18,000 crore ($290 million), which will be met in full by the – mainly private – project developers involved in the scheme. There will also be a portion of that total set aside to ensure bankability of PPAs and timely payment to developers, with support from the government.

Of the 15 GW total, a percentage of the components required will be domestically manufactured, including solar cells and modules, as part of the government’s pledge to support more of India’s homegrown solar companies.