solar thermal electric

India to start ramping up CSP and more cheaply than elsewhere

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It won’t be long before India has its own burgeoning CSP market as the New Solar Mission sets ambitious goals for the growth of solar energy in India. Nevertheless, the Indian Government has also established hard budgeting restrictions per MW as well as a firm schedule for starting construction of plants. Will India’s ability to build cheaply be the key to its success?

Many top experts of the concentrating solar power (CSP) industry in India certainly believe so. With capital costs coming in at just over $3 million per MW, the New Solar Mission might sound ambitious in the ears of international developers, but experts there consider the budget to be generous when it comes to building it “the Indian way”.

In an interview with leading CSP intelligence & events company CSP Today, Dr Anil Lakhina, the President of the Forum for Advancement of Solar Thermal (FAST) said “The capital cost (CAPEX) of solar thermal activity has been fixed at $3.2million per MW, that is quite comparable to international levels”.

Indian contractors can curb costs

Dr Lakhina, who has been working very closely with the government leading the FAST lobbying effort, believes that if the international EPCs wanted to do it directly then this budget could be difficult to manage within. “But if they tie up with Indian contractors who are very prominent, then the budget is quite sumptuous”.

Also speaking to CSP Today in an interview, Dhruv Batra, president of Indian CSP developer Cargo Infrastructure believes that the cost permissible is a far stretch.

“The typical projects in Spain and elsewhere in the world have been at much higher cost, we would have to work jointly with companies internationally to see how we localize certain components in order to make sure this is feasible to get to desirable results”.

Recognizing that the expertise for utility scale CSP is a key element for success, the New Solar Mission does clarify that know-how must be sought in international companies that have experience.

“India is very clear that they do not have the technology for solar thermal grid connected plants. Therefore a condition has been put that established players who has done and seen it should alone be allowed to tie up with the developers here to become eligible to bid for the solar thermal activity” adds Dr Lakhina.

Belén Gallego, who conducted the interviews and is the founder and director of CSP Today agrees with Dr Lakhina “Indians are specialists in building cheap but maintaining a high quality standard, which is a skill that is quite scarce”.

This September, CSP Today is holding an international event in New Delhi where all the main stakeholders will be present, including the leading international EPC and biggest developers from Spain and USA and the main local companies in Indian.

According to Gallego, it will be a “brewing space for the key partnerships that will move the CSP industry forward in India and will make the capacity building possible”.

Only companies that are serious about been leading players in the industry will be in attendance “there is no time to waste as the deadlines are very tight, so only companies with serious business interest in CSP need attending”.

Click here to hear the full interviews with Dr Anil Lakhina, Dhruv Batra and other leading CSP experts.

For additional information:

CSP Today

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