Wednesday, 13 November 2013

India to Invite Bids for 1-Gigawatt Solar Plant by March

Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL), India’s largest power-equipment maker, plans to invite bids by March to build a 1-gigawatt solar plant as the government seeks to cut the cost of the technology by promoting large projects.

State-owned Bharat Heavy, leading a six-company joint venture, intends to auction a contract for the design and construction work in the next four months, said Tarun Kapoor, joint secretary at the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

India, which suffers from peak-hour power shortages of as much as 25 percent in some states, is starting a program of large-scale renewable projects to diversify its energy mix and reduce a current-account deficit exacerbated by fuel imports.

The country has proposed to build five so-called ultra-mega renewable parks comprising as much as 18 gigawatts in capacity over about 10 years, according to a ministry presentation obtained by Bloomberg News. That would expand India’s installed solar capacity ninefold.

“The main objective is to bring down the price of solar power,” Kapoor said at the Intersolar conference in Mumbai yesterday. “We want to bring it to about 5.5 rupees (8.6 cents) a kilowatt-hour so that it’s competitive with any other source of power.”

Bharat Heavy’s planned tender will award a contract for the first gigawatt of a proposed 4-gigawatt solar park at Sambhar, Rajasthan state. The remaining capacity will later be auctioned in 500-megawatt batches to non-state developers, Kapoor said.

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