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World’s Largest Coal Miner Announces 1 GW Solar Power Plan

No one, not even the world’s largest coal-mining company, will escape from the impending solar energy revolution in India. The Indian government-owned company has announced its latest initiative to expand solar power infrastructure.

coal-indiaCoal India Limited will set up 1 GW of solar power capacity across two states in southern India as per an agreement with the Solar Energy Corporation of India. The information was shared by the ministry for coal, power, and renewable energy. The company had first announced its intentions to set up large-scale solar power projects in September this year and had proposed to invest $1.2 billion into the initiative.

The location for the projects shall be identified by Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The two states have substantial solar energy resources and currently face a noticeable gap in power demand and supply. Both the states also have ambitious solar power policies and have already conducted auctions to set up some projects.

The decision by the government to have CIL install solar power projects is in line with its policy to push state-owned companies to invest in renewable energy projects. The government recently hiked the solar power capacity addition target by five times. India now aims to add 100 GW solar power capacity by 2022 and hopes to attract $100 billion investment in the renewable energy sector.

The Indian government has asked several state-owned companies to set up solar power projects including thermal and hydropower companies. Asking the country’s largest coal mining to do the same seems a natural follow-up. Companies in India are mandated to invest a set minimum percentage of their profits for CSR activities.

Coal India is also the largest generator of revenue for the Clean Energy Fund. It’s the fund instituted by the government in 2010 to support expansion of renewable energy infrastructure. The fund is replenished by a ₹100 ($1.67) per tonne tax on coal mined or imported into India.

 
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Written By

Smiti 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.

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