India: Welspun to develop 8.7 GW of solar on back of strong investment

Indian and wind IPP, Welspun Renewables has told pv magazine it will deploy 8.66 GW of solar PV capacity across India in the coming years. Overall, it intends to install 11 GW of renewable capacity – with 1 GW planned for this year – in states including Maharashtra, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. It has a current operational solar capacity of 399 MW.

"The organization has already commissioned a significant percentage of its 2015-2016 target. Known for developing mega project capacities, our Tamil Nadu solar capacities are in advance stage of construction. For 100% of its current operating capacity the organization has a PPA for 25 years, as also will be applicable for its future capacities," says Vineet Mittal, vice chairman of Welspun Renewables.

While Mittal did not specify how much Welspun Renewables is investing in its project pipeline, he says investment in the Indian solar sector is strong, both from national and international companies. Pointing to this year’s Re Invest event, organized by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, he says an "immediate cumulative investment of US $1 billion" was committed by banks and financial institutions.

Reuters also reported at the end of July that Japan’s SoftBank will join forces with Bharti Enterprises and Foxconn Technology Group to invest a whopping $20 billion in the Indian solar sector. In addition to targeting 20 GW of solar installations, they are mulling over equipment manufacture in the country.

Regarding Welspun Renewables, Mittal adds that General Electric made its first Indian solar investment, in Welspun, and the Asian Development Bank, its first equity infusion. "Given our consistent delivery record, we are continuing to receive financial backing from key national and global institutions," he says.

Recent Welspun Renewables projects have been kitted out with modules from solar giants including Trina Solar and ReneSola. Overall, the company is keen to partner with tier 1 technology manufacturers. "This ensures that the latest proven technology is installed and sourced in required volumes at our project sites without any unnecessary delays," he explains, adding, "We have been known to partner with leading organizations located across technology centers in USA, Germany, China and Japan."

The Indian government is targeting 100 GW of installed solar capacity by 2022, with 10.8% of electricity generation coming from the renewable energy. Bridge to India recently wrote it believes the targets are ambitious, but that the country should reach an installed capacity of 32 GW by 2019. To date, cumulative capacity is around 4.7 GW, comprising 4.1 GW of utility-scale solar and around 350 MW of rooftop. This is expected to double this year.

Deutsche Bank raised its 2020 Indian solar market forecast up, also at the end of July, from an expected 14 GW installed to 34 GW by 2020. "This is on the back of strong commissioning (4.5 GW), even stronger pipeline, under construction (about 5.1 GW) and new projects (about 15 GW)," it wrote, adding that global players have committed approximately US$35 billion to the Indian solar sector.