Intersolar India: Auction for 4GW mega solar project to start ‘in months’

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At Intersolar India 2013, the joint secretary for the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Shri Tarun Kapoor, said invitations for tenders for the 4GW mega solar project in India will begin in a few months.

Tarun Kapoor said the first 1GW phase is scheduled for completion in three years, and tenders will be invited “in the next three to four months”, The Economic Times reported from the conference yesterday.

The mega solar project’s main aim is to bring down the cost of power to nearly INR5 (US$0.078) per unit, said Kapoor. Currently solar power is around INR6 (US$0.094) per kilowatt hour for large projects in India.

Finance for the project was also mentioned as Kapoor said the project would be gaining “viability gap funding” for up to INR1,000 crore (US$157 million) under the second round of the country's national solar programme.

The Solar Energy Corporation will be the “sole authority” selling the solar power generated from the mega project, with the entire 4GW project expected to be completed in seven years, Kapoor reportedly said.

The initial phase is to be developed at Sambhar Lake on more than 7,284 hectares of land from Hindustan Salts. The entire project's cost is estimated at INR30,000 crore (US$4.7 billion), the equivalent of INR7.5 crore per megawatt (US$1.2 million), said Tarun Kapoor. When fully completed, the 4GW project will produce 6,000 million kWh per year to supply the country with energy through the national grid.

The first 1GW phase was announced in September, and is being undertaken by a joint venture between electrical equipment manufacturers, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), Rajasthan Electronics and Instruments Limited (REIL) and SSL, the Solar Energy Corporation of India, the Power Grid Corporation of India and the government run hydro-electric power plant developer, SJVN. The joint venture plans to issue the remaining 3GW of tenders in 500MW blocks.

According to Intersolar’s website, Tarun Kapoor also said with the second phase of the national solar mission underway, the Indian PV market will “grow even more rapidly in the future,” continuing that India has an installed photovoltaic capacity of 1.1GW, and intends to increase this “nine-fold” to 10GW by 2017.

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