The hype surrounding India’s plans to install 100GW of solar by 2022 went to a new level at the weekend as India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and Piyush Goyal, Minister of State for power attended the first government backed event to kick-start investment in Modi’s plans.
Out of the blocks first came PV project plans from SunEdison, First Solar and Welspun Renewables.
According to consultancy firm, Bridge to India organizers of the RE-INVEST 2015 event polled participating companies on their potential PV plans in the country, resulting and a staggering 166GW pipedream.
This was backed-up with plans that could include a new manufacturing capacity being added in the country that could top 5GW per annum to meet India’s grand plans.
SunEdison has already touted an agreement with the state government of Karnataka build 5GW of subsidy-free wind and solar over a five-year period and 1-1.5GW by the end of December 2016 as well as a possible JV manufacturing complex with Adani Enterprises in Mundra, Gujarat at a cost of around US$4 billion.
However, SunEdison went further, according to reported at the start of the RE-INVEST event by disclosing plans for a total of 15.2GW renewable energy projects that included both PV and wind in India by 2022.
Adani Enterprises: 10GW
Ahead of the event, Indian conglomerate Adani Enterprises signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly build with the Government of Rajasthan a single 10GW PV power plant in the province. It is not clear yet whether there is any overlap with SunEdison’s potential project pipeline.
Welspun Renewables: 11GW
India-based Welspun Renewables was reported to have pledged 11GW of PV and wind power projects across the country in the same timeframe, noting 8.66GW would be PV and around 2.4GW would be for wind projects.
The company had also previously announced plans for 500MW of wind and 600MW of PV MoUs for projects in the state of Gujarat.
Essel Group: 5GW
Another well known Indian conglomerate, Essel Group had also signed a MOU with the Rajasthan government to develop PV projects at Bikaner and Jaisalmer totalling 5GW ahead of the RE-INVEST gathering.
State-owned power company SJVN had previously announced a 4.2GW solar park in Gujarat.
First Solar: 5GW
First Solar’s CEO, Jim Hughes was reported to have made a commitment to develop 5GW of PV projects in India by 2019.
Hughes was also reported to have highlighted the basic challenges facing Modi’s grand plan, which included securing land rights in acceptable timeframes, low cost project financing and issues surrounding grid operators lack of financial strength to enter in power purchase agreements (PPAs) ahead of any projects being built.
However, project finance may not be the biggest of issues, especially for overseas firms such as SunEdison and First Solar.
According to a tweet by YES Bank, India's fourth largest private sector bank has pledged to fund 5GW of PV projects, the first it claimed to do so.
Other pledges of building projects and financing are expected during the three day event, which also includes short presentations by a host of companies operating in the renewables sector, which includes, Trina Solar, Abengoa Solar, United PV and banks such as World Bank, Deutsche Bank and Asian Development Bank.