SunEdison is looking to implement a multi-pronged approach to expand its footprint in the Indian solar market. In addition to utility-scale solar power projects, the company is also looking to install distributed solar power projects in Indian villages that lack access to electricity.
SunEdison has signed an agreement with India-based Omnigrid Micropower Company to set up off-grid solar power projects in 5,000 Indian villages. These projects would have a cumulative capacity of 250 MW. This would potentially be the largest private-sector initiative in the distributed solar power domain for rural India.
The project fits perfectly in India’s medium-term target to provide electricity access to all Indian homes. Several Indian villages still lack access to electricity due to an absence of transmission and distribution networks. While the government is planning to invest billions of dollars to implement additional transmission capacity across the country, including a dedicated transmission corridor for renewable energy projects, it remains a capital-intensive and time-consuming endeavour.
Thus, distributed solar power projects in villages seems an efficient option — financially as well as logistically. Small-scale solar power projects in the villages would also circumvent the regulatory issues of acquiring last swaths of land. Land acquisition remains a contentious issue in India especially with the recent order approved by the government.
Other Indian companies have also implemented similar projects and have tried to engage the locals and end consumers as much as possible with the projects. This enables end users to understand the importance and necessity of the project and ensures active support and participation from them.
SunEdison is set to aggressively expand its presence in the Indian renewable energy market. The company has recently signed two memoranda of understanding to set to 10 GW of solar and wind energy capacity. This is in addition to the hundreds of megawatts of solar power capacity the company has secured rights to develop through competitive auctions.
SunEdison has also signed an agreement with India’s Adani Enterprises to develop a $4 billion solar photovoltaic modules manufacturing plant in Gujarat. This would enable the company to use low-cost solar PV modules for its Indian projects.
Image Credit: OMC Power
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