India: Punjab state reaches 1.5 GW of allocated solar PV

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The Indian state of Punjab has seriously upped its solar ambitions over the past three years, with the state’s New and Renewable Energy Minister revealing yesterday a 172-fold increase in solar PV allocation over that period.

Since 2012 the solar industry in Punjab has received inward investment of Rs 12,000 crore (approximately $2.2 billion), boosting its solar footprint from just 9 MW to 1.55 GW of allocated solar projects during that short time frame.

According to Majithia, no other Indian state has managed to match this pace of growth, which has attracted the investment of companies including Adani, Welspun, Essel and Azure, and generated more than 10,000 local employment opportunities.

The minister praised the egalitarian nature of Punjab’s solar revolution, saying that everybody – from the farmer with four acres of land to multinational companies such as Adani and Welspun – has played its part in the growth of the sector.

Punjab’s inaugural solar tender in 2013 received for 269 MW of solar capacity across 35 projects. Majithia confirmed that 188 MW have already been commissioned to the tune of Rs 1,800 crore ($333 million) of investment.

The second tender, issued in December 2014, drew bids of 389 MW for just 250 MW of allocated projects. In all, 228 MW are set to be commissioned across 24 projects from January 31. 2016. A third, 500 MW tender was floated in June, which attracted bids amounting to 1,650 MW.

The minister stressed that non-resident Indians had been pivotal in driving this interest in Punjab’s solar growth, accounting for around 40% of all direct investment made so far. Majithia cited the “transparent” nature of the SAD-BJP led government as reasons why Punjab has proven attractive to foreign investors.

"Incentives under the state government policy include no registration fee and stamp duty on purchase or lease of land, exemption from change of land use (CLU) pollution clearance, state entry tax, VAT and property tax besides have 25 years bankable PPA," Majithia added.