India’s solar power cost fell to a
new low, edging closer to coal, as declining panel prices and
increased competition drew offers to build plants from groups
backed by BlackRock Inc. (BLK) and Electricite de France SA (EDF).
India, which uses competitive bidding to select companies
offering to generate clean energy at the lowest cost, awarded
750 megawatts of permits on Feb. 21, half of that eligible to
use imported equipment. The government also offered grants to
offset project costs for the first time, helping attract bids
for triple the capacity auctioned.
Winners of the import-eligible capacity, who bid seeking
the least from the 18.75 billion rupees ($302 million) of
subsidies, priced electricity from solar panels at an average
6,500 rupees a megawatt-hour, down 25 percent from a national
tender two years ago, said Jasmeet Khurana, head of market
intelligence at solar consultancy Bridge to India Energy Pvt.
India plans a sixfold increase in solar capacity drawing
$11.7 billion of investment by 2017 to reduce blackouts as
plunging panel prices help photovoltaic projects compete with
coal- and gas-fired plants.
The average price of silicon solar modules has fallen more
than 7 percent since June, according to data compiled by
research company PV Insights.
Solar panel and cell makers are jostling for market share
amid rising stakes after the U.S. lodged a complaint at the
World Trade Organization this month, accusing India of imposing
trade barriers on the auction.
BlackRock, World Bank
The Indian unit of St. Peters, Missouri-based SunEdison
Inc. (SUNE), which counts BlackRock among its biggest investors, and
World Bank-backed Azure Power India Pvt. won the most capacity
at 100 megawatts each, according to bidding results. ACME Solar
Energy Ltd., 25 percent-owned by EDF’s renewable unit, picked up
Developers who didn’t make the cut included Goldman Sachs
Group Inc. (GS)’s ReNew Power Ventures Pvt., Tempe, Arizona-based
First Solar Inc. (FSLR), and Welspun Energy Ltd., India’s biggest
photovoltaic developer, bidding results show.
Other winners included Infrastructure Leasing Financial
Services Ltd., France’s Solairedirect SA and the clean-energy
unit of India’s Hero Group.
Developers planning to use more costly local panels and
cells bid on average for nearly double the grant amounts
compared with those expected to import equipment, raising the
government’s subsidy burden by 3.5 billion rupees, Khurana said.
To contact the reporter on this story:
Natalie Obiko Pearson in New Delhi at
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Stanley James at