India’s NTPC collaborates with German institutes on solar research, Coal India tendering next 800MW

NTPC has been responsilbe for many of the record breaking tenders in India of late. Flickr: Sanyam Bagha

Indian state-owned utility NTPC is collaborating with two German institutions, DLR Cologne and the Fraunhofer Institute of Solar Energy (ISE), on a number of solar research progammes.

Via its R&D arm NTPC Energy Technology Research Alliance (NETRA), the utility plans to set up evaluation facilities for CSP, CPV and solar PV and conduct various programmes for knowledge sharing and capacity building alongside the German institutions.

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India and Germany are long-time collaborators on solar and energy generally. Last October, Germany announced plans to offer around EUR1 billion (US$1.12 billion) in concessional loans for Indian solar projects over the next five years as part of the Indo-German Solar Energy Partnership.

NTPC has been responsible for many of the solar park tenders in India over the last six months, with Finland-based developer Fortum Finnsurya Energy winning 70MW capacity in Rajasthan at record low a price of INR 4.34/kWh (US$0.064) in January.

In other news, four months after PV Tech reported that state-owned coal mining company Coal India Limited (CIL) planned to develop 1GW of solar power projects across India in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint, the firm is now planning to tender the remaining 800MW.

N. Das, general manager of environment at Coal India told PV Tech that the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) will be floating the tender soon on Coal India's behalf.

Das added: “200MW is already in the pipeline for Madhya Pradesh and we have requested [SECI] to execute the tendering for the remaining 800MW.”

Das said that the location of the 800MW has yet to be decided. All the 1GW capacity will be owned by Coal India.

A number of traditional infrastructure companies in India have made solar plans of late. For example, Steel giant ArcelorMittal is also planning 500-600MW of PV in Karnataka after backing out from plans to build a six million tonnes per annum steel mill.

Meanwhile Indian conglomerate RattanIndia Power plans to use a 324 hectare site in Punjab, which was originally pegged for a thermal power plant, to build a 200MW solar PV project.

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