One of India’s leading solar power project developers has signed yet another landmark agreement to expand solar photovoltaic power infrastructure in the state of Rajasthan.
Azure Power recently announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Rajasthan to set up 1 GW of solar power capacity. While the details of this agreement remain sketchy, it is the second such agreement signed by the state government. Earlier this year, SunEdison agreed to set up 5 GW solar power capacity over a period of five years.
Large-scale expansion into Rajasthan seems natural for Azure Power, which already has a number of projects operational and under construction in the state secured through auctions in the National Solar Mission. The company recently initiated construction on 100 MW of solar PV projects it had secured under the latest auction of the National Solar Mission, which accounted for a total of 750 MW capacity.
With the total number of allocations under the first two phases of auctions, the company now has a cumulative capacity of 142 MW from the National Solar Mission — the highest by a single project developer.
Rajasthan was among the first Indian states to take up utility-scale solar power projects through a state policy. It, however, ceded ground to neighboring Gujarat as the central government absorbed the projects commissioned under the Rajasthan state solar power policy in 2009–10.
Efforts to regain the status of a leader in solar power are on now in Rajasthan, as it launched a new solar power policy and conducted its own auctions, which received highly positive response from project developers. The central government also initiated plans to set up a 4 GW ultra mega solar power project in the state. Those plans, however, seem to have been quashed by the state government — reportedly due to political reasons.
The state government has, instead, chosen to engage reputed project developers directly through the (MoU) mode. To attract developers, the state government recently made amendments to renewable energy policies and land laws.
Image Credit: Azure Power
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