India moots world’s largest solar tender – of 100 GW

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India’s Minister for New & Renewable Energy has mooted the world’s largest single solar bid – a 100 GW tender that would also include storage and solar equipment manufacturing. However no direct timetable has yet been set for the record-busting exercise.

“The biggest [renewable energy] tender was floated in Spain,” said MNRE minister RK Singh during the inauguration of a 1,500 kWp solar plant at a Sikh gurdwara in New Delhi. “We brought out [a] single tender of 10,000 MW, which would be opened in July. Now we will bring out a bid [tender] of 100,000 MW, which would also include solar manufacturing and storage.”

India, one of the fastest growing global energy consumers, ranks fifth in the world in terms of renewable energy, with an installed capacity of 70 GW, around 12.5 GW under implementation and bids received for a further 25.5 GW of projects.

India’s growing reliability on solar rests on demand. According to a 2017 World Bank report the populous nation, with 1.3 billion people, is the world’s third largest consumer of electricity, and solar is starting to displace coal as its chief energy source. “The cost of electricity from solar photovoltaic is currently a quarter of what it was in 2009, and is set to fall another 66% by 2040,” stated the report, published ahead of the abrupt policy about-turn in China which is predicted to see solar panel prices fall further this year. “That means a dollar will buy 2.3 times as much solar energy in 2040 than it does today.”

The shift to renewable energy is imperative, with 20 cities in India ranked among the most polluted in the world. “There is an urgent need to reduce fossil fuel use,” added Mr. Singh.