Indian Government set to launch bidding system for solar power

26 June 2014

NEW DELHI: India is about to open bidding on the country’s largest solar power project, the Economic Times of India has reported.

Under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), the emerging economy is aiming to have 20,000 MW of solar power by 2022, an ambitious target which will require significant commitment from the new government led by Narendra Modi.

The prospective bidding is part of the second phase of JNNSM which is targeting a capacity addition of 10,000 MW over the course of the next three years. The projects which will be bid on will contribute 1500 MW to the 10,000 MW overall goal of Phase 2.

Under the government’s solar policy, power produced from solar energy will be “bundled” with electricity from coal in a measure which will reduce the costs for distributors.

NVVN (NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam), the trading company affiliated to the National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC), has estimated that the average cost of bundled power would be around Rs 4-4.5 per unit.

Renewable power which is reliable and clean has grown in popularity, and today the price of Indian solar is 61% less than it was three years ago. The Indian government believe solar power could achieve grid parity by 2017-2018.

Tarun Kapoor, joint secretary, of the Ministry for New and Renewable Energy has stated that the government is drawing up bidding guidelines and it is expected that once these are complete bidding will take place in July or August.

Jarnail Singh, Indian Programme Manager for The Climate Group, supports solar energy growth in India and says it could help connect off-grid Indian communities with clean energy with the right finance mechanisms in place: “The adoption of good quality solar products among rural populace in India could be accelerated manifold by increasing levels of consumer awareness and innovating within the domain of customized finance for poor customers. After all, the off-grid market is one of those very few where the buyer is poorer than the seller.

"Some of these innovative market based mechanisms are already being tried under Bijli – Clean Energy for All initiative by The Climate Group in Maharashtra and West Bengal. Bijli has partnered with Selco and SwitchON (the non-profit arm of ONergy) to enable a low-cost line of credit to poor customers in these states with a target to serve at least 3,200 families.”

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By Alana Ryan

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