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India to invite bids for hybrid Solar Thermal plants by mid-2011

According to reports, The Central government plans to invite global bids for setting up power plants that would use a mix of solar and fossil fuels by mid-next year, a senior official said.

“We propose a demonstration of solar thermal hybrid and storage plants. Hopefully, we will be in a position to go for global bids by mid-next year,” Secretary for New and Renewable Energy, Deepak Gupta, said at the Intersolar India 2010 Conference, here today.

A group of representatives from different states has been set up to finalise the configurations for the proposal, he said.
“The configurations for setting up such plants are yet to be decided. The group will come out with its recommendations in the next six months. Once the details are finalised, we will invite global bids,” Gupta said.

The government has set a target of 20,000 MW capacity of solar power by 2022 under its National Solar Mission.
“We need to focus on solar thermal as there is a huge opportunity in the segment. Currently, there are many pilot and commercial projects for solar cooking and steam systems.

Panchabuta has covered about Solar Thermal earlier, Areva Renewables, CEO, Anil Srivastava has talked about how India has a lifetime opportunity to build the CSP industry. He has earlier suggested, combining Solar and Coal plants as a way to promote Solar Thermal.

Solar system manufacturers must improve various aspects of these technologies to make it even more efficient,” he said.
The government is also augmenting solar radiation resource assessment in the country.
“C-WET has been assigned the task of solar radiation monitoring. We are looking at setting up 50 ground monitoring stations in co-operation with states,” Gupta said.

The government also plans to tap telecom companies for setting up solar power panels on their transmission towers.”Many companies have come forward for setting up solar panels on their stations as a back-up. We have already approved three applications. We also want BSNL to set up solar panels on their tower stations,” he added.

As Panchabuta has reported, there has been a lot of activity in the cell phone tower space with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) awarding a tender for powering Cellphone sites using Solar Energy in Western Uttar Pradesh in India. Soon after, Air Liquide announced of a pilot project with Bharti Airtel to run telecom towers using hydrogen and most recently, Electro Power Systems Italy announced the launch of  ElectroSelf, the first self-recharging fuel cell system in India for backup power for telecom towers.

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