India shows its PV prowess as solar plane lands in Ahmadabad


As the Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) aircraft landed in the Indian city of Ahmadabad on Wednesday, March 11, its two Swiss pilots urged the nation of 1.2 billion to continue its fight against climate change by backing the adoption of greater renewable energy.

Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg gave their backing to India’s ability to spread the message of clean technology adoption just hours before the government issued updated bidding guidelines for 3 GW of solar PV to be awarded under the country’s National Solar Mission.

According to the new guidelines, developers can bid for a minimum of 10 MW on a fixed, 25-year levelized tariff, confirmed the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). Contracts will be awarded to those developers that submit the lowest bids, and the process is set to be coordinated by state utility NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd.

The MNRE also issued a separate draft guideline setting out plans for an additional 2 GW of grid-connected PV capacity, which will also be rolled out under a bid process as India works towards achieving its ambitious goal of installing 100 GW of solar PV capacity by 2022.

The Si2 pilots are well aware of India’s ambitions, and used their stay in Ahmadabad – chosen because parts of the plane’s material were sourced from companies based near to the city – to extol the virtues of clean energy and urge greater adoption of solar technologies globally.

"Our goal is to spread the message of adopting clean technologies and improving the quality of life of India’s 1.2 billion people," said Piccard, adding that he hopes that the Si2 – the world’s first fully solar-powered aircraft – can capture the imagination of the Indian people.

The stopover in Ahmadabad was the second landing for Si2, having previously touched down 16 hours earlier in Muscat, Oman. While in India, both pilots met with government officials, environmental groups and students to discuss the opportunities of sustainable energy.

Trina supplies modules to ACME India

In further encouraging news for India's solar industry, Chinese solar manufacturer Trina Solar confirmed today that it had supplied 48 MW of solar modules to ACME India, the Indian subsidiary of ACME Solar, taking Trina’s total sales to the company to 70 MW of modules so far in 2015.

The shipment comprises 188,000 Pieces of Honey modules TSM-PC05A that will be installed on two ground-mount PV plants in India.

"We are seeing a significant pick-up in the adoption of solar power in India this year and we are delighted to be taking part in the growth with our efficient and high-quality modules," said Trina’s president of the module business unit and COO Zhiguo Zhu. "India is no doubt a robust and growing market for solar energy. We believe this agreement not only demonstrates our growing brand awareness in India, but also sets a solid foundation for our expanding business in the region."

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