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India Draws Bids for Triple Solar Capacity Offered

India received bids for almost triple the 750 megawatts of solar capacity offered after enticing developers with grants for the first time that will cover part of the cost of the plants.

The state-run Solar Energy Corp. of India received 58 bids for 2,170 megawatts in the country’s first national auction of photovoltaic licenses in two years, Tarun Kapoor, joint-secretary at the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, said in an interview today in New Delhi.

The technical bids will be opened today to check whether companies meet the qualifications to build plants, Rajendra Nimje, managing director of Solar Energy Corp., said in an interview. The financial bids will be opened in about a month after the initial evaluation is finished, he said.

The tender offers improved revenue security to investors seeking a foothold in a market, where the cost of sun power may equal that of other sources within three years.

The government is set to provide as much as 18.75 billion rupees ($303 million) in grants for the projects. That will reduce construction costs, allowing the winning developers to sell the electricity they generate at about the same price as conventional power.

The tender may be the “least risky” of at least nine national and state-level auctions held so far in India, said Bharat Bhushan, New Delhi-based solar analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

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