Solar developer Azure Power India has expanded its 5MW facility in Nagaur, Rajasthan, with an additional 35MW making it the largest project commissioned at a single location under India’s National Solar Mission.
The company received US$70 million loan from the US Export Import Bank to construct the additional plant. The Ex-Im Bank also provided US$16 million for the 5MW plant in July 2011, which was one of the first to be developed under India’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, and also one of the first to receive financial backing from an international financing institution.
Fred Hochberg, Chairman and President of the Ex-Im Bank, said, “We are delighted to have supported Azure Power's purchases of high-quality US technology for this landmark project. Ex-Im Bank is proud to finance cutting edge American-made solar equipment to help meet India’s clean energy demand under the charter of the National Solar Mission.”
The plant is using thin-film PV modules from manufacturer First Solar. James Brown, Executive Vice President of Global Business Development for First Solar, said, “India has ambitious solar power development goals, and we are very excited to contribute its growth and success.”
The plant is spread over 122 hectares of wasteland which the company states will ensure sustainable development of the economy through income generation and local employment generation for construction, installation, security and maintenance. The plant is expected to offset about 66,000 metric tonnes of CO2 per year.
Talking about the project, Inderpreet Wadhwa, CEO, Azure Power said, “Azure Power has continuously demonstrated its commitment to inclusive growth through clean energy generation for grid connected, rooftop and off-grid initiatives across India.
“We are in line with the government of India’s ambition of adding 20GW of solar power by 2022. Our vision of providing affordable solar power for generations drives us to carry out extensive research and development in order to bring down the cost of energy for the end consumer. With the commissioning of this plant, Azure Power now has one of the largest portfolio of operating solar projects and a strong pipeline,” concluded Wadhwa.
Senior Manager Azure Power, Rajni Bhandari added, "The solar power sector in India has is in nascent stages of development. The PV modules that are available with leading players in the international market have been tested and tried for different environments and score high on efficiency, the most important factor.
"Azure Power works with the world's leading suppliers to provide the most cost effective solar power to its consumers. We rely on cutting-edge technology to provide our customers with the highest degree of quality standards. Through continous research and development, Azure Power has outperformed the market and brought down cost of energy by 54.15% during the period 2010-2012 and will continue to do so," concluded Bhandari.
Azure Power has a portfolio of 55MW claiming to have had the longest operating history of solar power plants across various states in India.