India Boosts Solar Energy Targets With 1-Gigawatt Auction Plan

India announced draft rules to auction 1,000 megawatts of solar power capacity in Andhra Pradesh as Prime Minister Narendra Modi accelerates clean-energy deployment.

Companies will be invited shortly to bid for contracts to build plants at a solar energy plant in the southern state, according to the rules issued today by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. A quarter of the capacity will be required to use locally made panels and cells.

The rules also outline a broader plan to boost India’s clean-energy targets and shift responsibility for implementing capacity away from states to the central government. By 2019, the central government expects to install 15,000 megawatts, more the five times the current national capacity and about triple what it committed to in 2012.

Companies will be able to bid for as much as 250 megawatts of capacity with each project capped at 50 megawatts, according to the rules. State-run power trader NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd., known as NVVN, will run the auction and sign 25-year power purchase agreements with the winners.

The solar park will be run by a state-run venture between the Solar Energy Corp. of India, New & Renewable Energy Development Corp. of Andhra Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corp., which will ensure roads, water and power substations are built to support the projects.

The draft sets a timeline for building 3,000 megawatts by 2017, 5,000 megawatts by 2018 and 7,000 megawatts by 2019.