The government is planning to bring out large tenders for producing 2-4 giga-watts (GW) of solar power, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said today. “We are looking at coming out with 2-4 GW of solar power tenders. This will lead to economies of scale as large players will come as well as large capital…” Goyal told reporters on the sidelines of the India-Australia Energy Dialogue here. The country’s grid-connected solar power generation capacity has crossed the 5,000 MW mark. The government has set an ambitious target of generating 100 GW of solar power by 2021-22 under the National Solar Mission. It is envisaged to generate 60 GW ground mounted grid-connected solar power and 40 GW roof-top grid interactive solar power to meet the target.
The Power ministry has also fixed year-wise targets to monitor the solar power generation in the country. The target for the current year is 2,000 MW and 12,000 MW for the next year. The ministry is putting all efforts through various Central and State governments schemes to achieve the target. It has also initiated several schemes for development of solar parks and ultra mega solar power projects. Tenders for around 18,000 MW of solar projects are expected to be issued by March 31, 2016. The Power, Coal and Renewable Energy Minister said the tariffs for solar power can come down by another 10 per cent from the record low of Rs 4.34 per unit last month. “When I first said that solar power tariffs need to come down, nobody believed me. Now when they have come down to record low they believe me. But looking at the way auctions have gone, it can come down by 10 per cent,” the minister said. In November last year, the solar power tariff had touched an all-time low of Rs 4.63 per unit following aggressive bidding by the US-based SunEdison, the world’s biggest developer of renewable energy power plants.
Also, the government will encourage roof top solar projects as well as come out with ways to encourage farmers to start small solar power projects, he added. “I want to do something for farmers and I am thinking of ways to encourage them towards solar power. This can also add to their income. This is my dream,” Goyal said. He is heading a delegation of senior officials for the India Australia Energy Dialogue. Industry body CII is also leading a delegation to the four-day dialogue, which will witness roundtable meetings between the government of the two countries as well as businesses from both sides on energy related issues.