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India to Open Bidding for Second Solar Auction Within a Week

India will call for bids within a week for its second national auction of permits for solar plants, while warning the first group of winners that there will be no leniency for delayed projects.

The country may issue licenses in the next auction for as much as 350 megawatts of photovoltaic capacity, said Deepak Gupta, secretary of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

India plans to build 20,000 megawatts of solar plants by 2022, making it one of Asia’s top three producers along with China and Japan. At the first auction in December, it awarded permits to build 37 projects with total capacity of 620 megawatts.

Two of those were disqualified this week. Gupta said one company had misrepresented its net worth in documents submitted to the government, and the other hadn’t followed guidelines for obtaining land. The remaining projects may face fines if they are not completed on time.

“The clock is ticking,” he said today in an interview. “Even a one-day delay is likely to attract penalties.”

According to the timetable established in the December auction, 140 megawatts of photovoltaic projects must be completed by January. Another 470 megawatts of solar-thermal projects have until 2013. Solar-thermal plants use sunlight to heat liquids that produce steam for generators; photovoltaic plants use panels to turn sunlight directly into power.

Developers will have seven months to arrange financing, Gupta said. Participants in the first auction had six months. Companies will also be permitted to request permits for projects larger than the 5-megawatt cap imposed for photovoltaic plants in the December auction.

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