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‘Solar power will come down to Rs 7-8 per unit’

According to reports, Solar power is a very compelling solution for India-it’s clean and green-and it’s fuel (sun’s energy) is free and abundant. Yet, high costs (around Rs 16 per unit) have been a deterrent in solar power’s large scale deployment. However, things are changing fast. After the Japan tsunami and quake put question marks on safety nuclear power there has been a renewed interest in solar. Also, local manufacturing of components are pushing costs down, making solar a viable option. In an interview with Shelley Singh, Lanco Solar’s CEO V Saibaba discusses the future of solar and Lanco’s plans. Excerpts:

Post the Japan tsunami and earthquake there are question marks on nuclear power. Will this lead to a greater interest in renewable sources, particularly solar?

What happened in Japan is unfortunate. Solar is safe, clean and fast to install as compared to nuclear power. Also the disposal cost of nuclear waste is very high. So, irrespective what happened to Japan solar energy market is expected to grow rapidly. The events in Japan will only highlight some of the inherent risks of nuclear power and will drive governments to prefer renewable energy sources , of which solar is one of the major constituents.

What is Lanco’s strategy in solar power? How many projects and how many mega watts (MW) are you doing at present?

Cumulatively, we have signed PPAs for a capacity of 141 MW in Solar PV and Solar Thermal, with NVVN (NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam) under the National Solar Mission and Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam (GUVNL) under the state policy.

Lanco Solar has built and commissioned a 5MW Solar power plant for it’s parent company that is, Lanco Infratech (LITL) in district Patan, Gujarat under the Gujarat Solar Policy in 2009. The second 5MW is currently under advanced stages of construction in Patan district of Gujarat.

By December 2011 Lanco Solar plans to commission the entire allotment of 35MW of solar PV in Gujarat under the state policy. Lanco Solar will commission 5MW and 1 MW by end of this calendar year, both in Rajasthan allotted to it under the National Solar Mission (NSM). We also plan to start construction of 100MW solar thermal plant in Rajasthan allotted to us under NSM over the coming months. On top of this, Lanco Solar has signed certain turnkey contracts for other developers, which would be coming up in Rajasthan & Gujarat.

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