India’s National Solar Mission has taken a major step forward by approving 35 new systems. The projects will contribute 610MW towards the government’s goal of generating 20GW through solar by 2022.
Each project signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN) in January and was given six months to secure financial backing. All bar two of the 37 developers entering the auction were able to submit evidence they had arranged funding; the two rejected projects had capacities of 5MW.
Seven of the successful applicants are solar thermal projects – totalling 470MW – while the remaining 28 are regular PV systems – totalling 140MW. Among the companies building the larger thermal projects include billionaire Anil Ambani’s Reliance Power and Lanco Infratech. They both faced forfeiting as much as INR1.89 billion (US$42 million) in bank guarantees if they failed to secure financial backing.
The PV projects have until January 2012 to install the systems, while the solar thermal projects have until 2013.