State-owned coal mining company Coal India Limited (CIL) plans to develop 1GW of solar power projects across India in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint.

Nagendra Kumar, technical director of CIL, told PV Tech that the company has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to carry out the solar projects. SECI was recently renamed Renewable Energy Corporation of India (RECI) as it became a commercial entity.

Kumar said: “We are trying to locate new states, but at the first stage we are looking at Madhya Pradesh.”

CIL plans to complete at least one 250MW project within one year in Madhya Pradesh. Kumar added that to complete 1GW of installations there is a problem with land acquisition currently. Land in Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa and Chhattisgarh were cited as potential options.

Kumar said the entrance into the solar market is “one step” the company is taking to reduce its carbon footprint.

Yesterday multinational conglomerate Aditya Birla Group also announced its partnership with private equity investor Abraaj Group to develop utility-scale solar power plants in India. The new renewable energy platform, Aditya Birla Renewables Limited, plans to bid for projects tendered in both state and national auctions in India. For example, there are state auctions coming up in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.