NLC India to develop 810MW solar plant in Rajasthan

A Tata Power project in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Credit: Tata Power

NLC India, a company owned and operated by the Indian Ministry of Coal, has won a tender to develop an 810MW solar PV project in the northern state of Rajasthan.

Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Nigam, the state department responsible for managing the energy sector in Rajasthan, announced the tender in December 2022, with the new projects set to be built at a much larger 2GW solar facility at Pugal Tehsil in the state’s Bikaner District. NLC India won the entirety of the 810MW of capacity offered in the tender, and while the company did not announce a timeframe for the new project, the facility will be the group’s latest clean energy investment.

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NLC India is already developing over 1.1GW of new solar capacity at four sites across India, and was the first of India’s government departments to install 1GW of renewable power generation capacity. The company plans to grow its renewable portfolio to 6GW by the end of 2030, and projects such as these will be an integral part of India’s growth in the solar sector, as it looks to decarbonise its energy mix.

Last month, Indian solar module manufacturer Gautam Solar announced plans to double its annual module production capacity, and last week, Sterling and Wilson Renewable Energy received approval to build a new 300MW solar project in the state of Gujarat on India’s west coast.

India’s energy mix remains highly reliant on fossil fuels, with the International Energy Agency (IEA) reporting in 2021 that over 80% of the country’s energy needs were met by coal, oil and solid biomass, with renewables such as wind and solar struggling to make an impact on the Indian energy mix. Other IEA figures, however, show that in 2020, the Indian coal sector provided 1.1 million GWh of electricity, down from an all-time peak of 1.2 million GWh the previous year, suggesting that India could be looking to reduce its reliance on coal in particular.

With India aiming to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2070, the successful development of new large-scale solar projects, such as the one at Pugal Tehsil, could prove vital.

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