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India’s Rajasthan Opens Bidding for 200 Megawatts of Solar Farms under state policy

According to reports, India’s Rajasthan state started accepting bids from developers to set up 200 megawatts of solar power projects in an area that has the country’s second-most solar radiant exposure.

The state plans to auction contracts for 100 megawatts of photovoltaic plants and 100 megawatts of solar thermal plants, Naresh Pal Gangwar, chairman of the state-run Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corp. said today by telephone.

Reliance Power Ltd. (RPWR), Shriram EPC Ltd. (SEPC) and SunEdison, the solar development unit of MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (WFR), are among companies that are developing projects in Rajasthan, believed to have some of India’s most promising resources to develop energy from sunlight with its sprawling desert terrain.

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

Contracts are available for photovoltaic projects of 5 or 10 megawatts each and for solar-thermal plants of 50 megawatts each. Companies can bid for both types, according to the agency’s auction rules.

Unlike contracts awarded by the central government, Rajasthan will allow companies to import equipment and technology for their projects.

Bids are due by 3 p.m. local time on Jan. 30 after which the agency will shortlist candidates who meet all the eligibility requirements. The bids will be opened around mid- April.

Plans to also auction an additional 50 megawatts of projects to companies that pledge to build solar manufacturing facilities in the state are awaiting government approval, Pal Gangwar said. Rajasthan had proposed that companies be eligible for licenses to install 10 megawatts of solar power for every 25 megawatts of manufacturing capacity they build.

The state receives on average the most solar radiant exposure in India after Gujarat state, according to a joint study by the India Meteorological Department and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

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