Leading Indian solar developer Welspun Renewables has commissioned the construction of a massive solar plant in the state of Maharashtra. The planned 52-megawatt (MW) solar plant will be located in the city of Baramati.
The project was set up between Welspun and Maharashtra State Power Generation Co. under the public-private partnership (PPP) model. The partnership represents the latest in a series of steps being taken to ramp up the development of solar energy in India. Late last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his administration would seek the development of 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity by the year 2022.
Vineet Mittal, Vice Chairman of Welspun Renewables, said the Maharashtra plant’s successful commissioning will “set a precedent for the other states and independent power producers” towards realizing Modi’s 100-GW goal. “We are very confident and excited to see solar power becoming the next big contributor in India’s energy future,” Mittal said. “We clearly see a transition from solar playing a complimentary role in the energy mix to becoming a vital part of it.”
In February, Welspun pledged to develop 11 GW of solar and wind projects throughout the country. The leading generator of solar power in India, Welspun has an established presence spanning 10 states and has plans to commission projects totaling 1 GW of capacity this year alone. “Welspun Renewables has already commissioned a significant percentage of its 2015-2016 target,” Mittal said, adding that current and future projects will be set up with 25-year PPAs.
Mittal stated he expects to see a transitioning where solar energy will go from “playing a complementary role in the energy mix to becoming a vital part of it.”
India’s total installed energy capacity is currently 35.77 GW. Of that, nearly 27 GW are comprised of “clean sources.” Mittal said he foresees strong growth in the renewables sector in the coming year – especially in solar power.
“Various state governments have already tendered out over 6 GW of solar installation capacities,” Mittal said. “Due to enormous support from central and state governments, several new power producers and vendors have entered the sector. The sector is expanding like never before.”
Mittal added that breakthrough technological innovations in the sector, especially in battery technology, will play a crucial role in the future of India’s renewable power infrastructure. “We are at the cusp of a huge technological innovation in the renewable energy sector,” Mittal said. “We believe that within the next decade, the current major sources of energy would be overtaken by battery storage, smart meters, cognitive computing and other clean energy technologies.”
On the financing front, Mittal said a growing number of banks and international investors have expressed considerable interest in funding clean energy projects in India. “We are seeing an unprecedented appetite among investors who are keen to fund solar projects and we foresee substantial inflow of funds in the coming years into the sector,” Mittal said.
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