Clean Power

Published on August 8th, 2014 | by Smiti


First Solar Announces Its Maiden Solar Power Project In India

August 8th, 2014 by  

First Solar Power Project

Credit: First Solar

First Solar, one of the largest manufacturers of solar photovoltaic modules, has taken its first steps into the Indian solar power market as a project developer. By doing so it has also taken a major step towards hedging against the possibility of anti-dumping duties being levied by the Indian government on imported modules.

The US-based PV module manufacturer has announced plans to install a 45 MW solar power project in the southern Indian state of Telangana. The company will set up the project through its Indian subsidiary. About 75 million kWh of DC electricity would be generated from this power plant, which would be sold to the local utility at ₹6.49 ($0.11) per kWh for a period of 20 years.

The company refused to disclose the capital investment required for the project, but as per the prevailing market conditions the project may entail an investment of around $50 million. The construction for the project is set to begin in October this year and the plant is expected to be commissioned by May 2015.

Telangana seems to be a good choice to enter the Indian solar power generation sector. The newly formed state is struggling to augment its power supply resources since its separation from Andhra Pradesh.

First Solar is probably the largest supplier of importer PV modules in the Indian market. The company benefited immensely from the concessional loans granted by the US Export-Import Bank to the Indian project developers who choose First Solar’s thin-film modules for their projects.

Telangana will also host a 1,000 MW solar PV project which will be set up in manner similar to the Gujarat solar park. The Andhra Pradesh government had signed an agreement to set up the project in Mahabubnagar district (now in Telangana).

First Solar is facing anti-dumping duties from the Indian government, which is struggling to meet its aim to promote and strengthen local PV module manufacturing companies. Different ministries in the government are struggling to build a consensus on the issue which has delayed the implementation of the duties. However, a recent report stated that levying these duties would save the country an estimated $42 billion in foreign exchange outgo by 2030.

Venturing into one of the most rapidly growing solar power markets in the world is a smart move on the part of First Solar. The state and central governments together plan to add about 9,000 MW solar power capacity by mid-2017. India currently has an installed solar power capacity of around 2,900 MW.

With a new government in place, strictness in the implementation of the Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) is widely expected to be increased; this, in turn, would give a major boost to the demand for solar power across the country.

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About the Author

works as a senior solar engineer at a reputed engineering and management consultancy. She has conducted due diligence of several solar PV projects in India and Southeast Asia. She has keen interest in renewable energy, green buildings, environmental sustainability, and biofuels. She currently resides in New Delhi, India.

  • sivadasan

    A lot is said about India and its RE programmes. Note that the present government has a vision to have 500 GW solar capacity by 2050 as per a recent report. Hope everything would move as planned.

  • siva kumar

    i want to start solar panels unit, i need guidience

  • CaptD

    India has the land mass and location to make the best use of Solar.

    I hope that all Indians encourage their Leaders to push Solar instead of Coal, Nuclear or any other kind of dirty Energy because only Solar has the power to set ratepayers free (after they pay for their PV panels).

    Soon the use of electric vehicles (eVehicles) will also make going to buy gasoline and/or diesel a thing of the past, since solar can also charge the batteries of all sorts of eVehicles. Look for eCars, eBicycles and even eBuses very soon!

  • Nice location for a new solar city with no bureaucrats attached.

  • Indian

    Yup..India is dangerous.. We have lunatics going around shooting school kids with awful gun control laws.. N of course, we randomly bomb nations for oil..

  • Shiggity

    India is a dangerous country. Just imagine the bureaucratic corruption of the US, then multiply that by 10 and you get India.

    But at the same time the possibilities for growth are just too good to pass.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Sometimes it’s easier to get things done in a country with corruption problems. Drop off a few suitcases of cash and wheels get greased.

      Not saying that’s how things should work….

    • Yeah India is very dangerous place. But we do really miss political fools who doubt the most elementary scientific facts – I’m not even talking about climate change here. I’m desperately waiting for the maddening panic that will grip the American political brass when the entire world is ready to cut emissions and forcing the same down America’s throat!!

      • Bob_Wallace

        India is hardly a dangerous place. (It does have its own set of political fools. Just different issues.)

        And the US has been cutting emissions for some time now.

        • I have yet to see any Indian fool enough to oppose renewable energy. I can name 10-15 developing countries which have taken measures to reduce emissions that US has spent decades debating. There will never be a consensus in the US to cut emissions on the federal level unless they realise that they stand to lose all energy resources.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Seems to me that India has a coal industry, a nuclear industry, and a lot of people who make money from petroleum. If you haven’t found any Indians who oppose renewable energy I suspect you haven’t looked very hard.

            Yes, there are countries that have moved faster than the US to cut emissions, but the US hit peak CO2 in 2005 and has been on the down slope since.

            India has a much lower CO2 per capita level than does the US, but India has yet to hit peak CO2 emissions. In fact, India’s CO2 emission rates are growing at a significant level.

          • Yes I haven’t seen any Indian opposing renewable energy. I have been following the market and regulations for quite a few years (including three years as a professional).

            Coal is the major source of electricity in India and it is an understatement that the sector is stretched to the limit. There is just not enough coal to fire the existing power plants and imported coal costs too much. Hence, governments are working on solar power projects that are bigger than most coal-fired power plants in the country.

            Oil and gas sector would easily be among the most loss-making industries in India. The state-owned companies are under losses of billions of dollars. Private companies have long exited the distribution sector and have stopped/reduced production of oil & gas due to low prices offered by the government.

            Renewable energy is the only solution and I have not seen a single regulator/politician/professional opposing the idea of using more renewable energy.

            Emissions in India are expected to continue to rise as it expands its economy. But no Indian legislator has ever doubted the science behind climate change. So at least in that sense India is less ‘dangerous’ than being currently perceived.

          • Rahul

            Show me one major politician in India that is a GW/CC skeptic. You just wont find them. While GOP has many. Get real man.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You get real and read what I wrote. Reply to that and not to what you imagine I wrote.

      • tree

        I have to say all political parties of India are aware and informed about climate change even fundamentalist Muslim parties are soft on environmental issues. Tea Party is a hired mistress of oil and Military mafia!

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