India’s Second Solar Auction May Allow for Bigger Projects

India plans to open the second round of bidding for licenses to build solar power plants “shortly” and may change rules that limited the size and amount of projects awarded to companies.

“We want to raise the maximum to 20 or 25 megawatts,” Ashwini Kumar, director at the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, said today in an interview in New Delhi. In India’s first solar auction last December, the government limited the size of each solar photovoltaic project awarded to 5 megawatts.

Companies that won licenses for photovoltaic projects in the first round include Indian Oil Corp., the nation’s biggest refiner, and Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., India’s largest maker of sports-utility vehicles. Each company was only allowed to win no more than one photovoltaic project.

The ministry is calling for feedback from the industry by June 30 to possibly change those rules so that developers can be awarded multiple projects, according to a website statement.

India aims to install 1,000 megawatts of solar power plants connected to the national grid by 2013. In December, it awarded 620 megawatts of that, including 150 megawatts of photovoltaic and 470 megawatts of solar thermal projects.

Photovoltaic panels convert sunlight directly into an electrical current, whereas solar thermal technology uses sunlight to heat liquids that produce steam for generators.

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