Developments on over 1 GW of new PV in India

Solar news from India is coming thick and fast. In the last couple of days there have been encouraging developments on three separate PV schemes, at various different stages of development, which together would increase the country’s PV capacity by over 1000 MW. The signs coming from the country show that it is going to try as best it can to achieve its hugely ambitious goal of 100 GW of installed PV by 2022.

SECI tendering 500 MW of rooftop

Maybe most interesting of the three announcements is Solar Energy Corporation of India’s (SECI) scheme to tender 500 MW of grid connected rooftop solar, considering it would almost double the country’s rooftop PV capacity, currently at 525 MW. The plan is to have the systems installed in different states across India.

The bidding will begin on 3 June and is for the “design, manufacture, supply, erection, testing and commissioning including warranty, operation & maintenance” of the systems, according to the SECI document. The minimum size system that the bidders are able to apply for are 100 kWp and the maximum is 20 mWh.

There are two different models for the bidding: the CAPEX Model, which comprises of 300 MW of the total, with eligibility for a 30% subsidy on capital costs, and the RESCO Model, which comprises of 200 MW of the total.

It is an ambitious target set by SECI, and it remains to be seen whether it will receive sutable bids for all of the 500 MW, but if it gets close to the full amount it will be a step in the right direction to achieve the 4 GW of installed rooftop solar as part of the 2022 target.

200 MW site in Rajasthan

At an equally early stage of development as the SECI rooftop scheme is a project for a 200 MW solar plant in Rajasthan. Approval has been granted by the Indian government’s Union Cabinet for the plant to be erected on a 400 hectares piece of un-cultivable farm land at the Central State Farm (CSF), Jetsar in Rajasthan.

The land is currently under the possession of the National Seeds Corporation (NSC), which is under control of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. The NSC is happy to use the land for what has been described as a “solar Power Plant of capacity exceeding 200 MW” by the Cabinet, as it “will yield revenue for NSC and will also generate clean energy for the nation.”

The bidding process has yet to begin on the project, but the contract will be for an initial 25 years, with the potential for future extensions.

SkyPower’s 350 MW of PV projects

A little further down the pipeline are SkyPower’s seven PV projects in India, which will total 350 MW of capacity. The company announced that it has struck an agreement with Indian MEP services provider Sterling and Wilson for the EPC and operation and maintenance (O&M) of its planned projects in India.

"SkyPower continues to lead by example and by action,” said SkyPower’s President and Chief Executive Officer Kerry Adler. ”The signing of these EPC and O&M agreements with Sterling and Wilson is an important milestone toward the timely execution of our awarded projects and fulfillment of our commitment to generating a brighter future forIndia through developing clean solar power."

The seven projects, of 50 MW each, are to be built in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Telangana, with construction due to begin towards the end of 2016. It is a major coup for Sterling and Wilson who has installed almost 1 GW of solar projects across India.

"Sterling and Wilson is proud to be selected to execute SkyPower’s projects in India,” said Bikesh Ogra, President, Solar & Electrical Division, Sterling and Wilson. “SkyPower’s world-class construction and O&M requirements and standards are stringent, and our selection is a testament to Sterling and Wilson’s capabilities and stellar reputation inIndia and abroad."