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India Rejects Two Solar Projects; Solar Thermal Plants Pass

India rejected two of 37 solar projects awarded in its first national auction, which aims to generate 20,000 megawatts of sun-powered capacity by 2022.

NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd., or NVVN, the state-run power trader that will buy electricity from the plants, accepted 35 projects that were able to submit evidence they had arranged funding, the government said in a news release.

All seven solar-thermal projects, which account for 470 megawatts of capacity or 75 percent of what was awarded in the December auction, made the cut, Deepak Gupta, secretary of the New and Renewable Energy ministry, said today in New Delhi.

Companies building the larger thermal projects include billionaire Anil Ambani’s Reliance Power Ltd. and Lanco Infratech Ltd., one of India’s largest non-state power producers. They had faced forfeiting as much as 1.89 billion rupees ($42 million) in bank guarantees if not accepted.

Gupta declined to identify the two projects that were rejected except to say in a phone interview that each held a license to build a 5-megawatt photovoltaic plant.

Solar thermal plants use sunlight to heat liquids that produce steam for generators; photovoltaic plants use panels to turn sunlight directly into power.

The projects face no further deadlines before commissioning, Gupta said. The 140 megawatts of photovoltaic projects that have been accepted need to be completed by January. The solar thermal projects have until 2013.

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