The Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre is considering starting its plan to build a 100,000-Mw solar energy capacity by 2022 through award of 10,000-Mw projects in the coming three months.
The plan includes close to 6,000 Mw of capacity to be set up by NTPC alone, 2,500 Mw by Solar Energy Corporation, around 2,500 Mw in Madhya Pradesh and the rest as solar energy parks in several other states.
Officials in the ministry of new and renewable energy said NTPC would build 3,300 Mw of its own projects and tender 3,000 Mw under the power bundling scheme. "NTPC plans to harness 25,000 Mw of solar power in six years. Of this, it has committed to building 10,000 Mw itself. The balance it will tender to private players and bundle with unutilised thermal power and sell at an average rate," said one.
NTPC's plan has two solar parks - 1,500 Mw in Anantpur, Andhra Pradesh; and 1,000 Mw in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu. The clearance for land and tenders for transmission have been achieved and capacity will be awarded through rate-based bidding.
Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), a fully owned subsidiary of the ministry of new and renewable energy, will tender out 2,000 Mw of projects, likely by next month. "It will go to the Cabinet in a fortnight. All plans are in place and the ball will be set rolling for centrally awarded solar projects once approvals come," said a senior executive of SECI.
SECI is also about to sign a joint venture agreement with the Madhya Pradesh government to develop India's first solar ultra mega power plant, of 750 Mw at one location. Officials in the state's renewable energy department said the project would come up in Rewa and bids would be called in batches of either 250 Mw or 500 Mw, by May.
India's current solar capacity is 3,382 Mw and the amount commissioned under the solar mission is 1,112 Mw. The current government revised upwards the target for the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission by five times. It aims to have in place 100,000 Mw of solar capacity by 2022, including by foreign investment.
States are also awarding projects. MP leads with 2,500 Mw. Others to issue tenders soon are Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Rajasthan is studying a model for harnessing solar power on a large scale in desert areas.