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The Indian government is serious. No, I’m not joking, trust me!

I read a news item that the Indian government has asked the 12 applicants who recently received in-principle nod for PV projects filed under special incentive package scheme to complete their financial closure by Aug 31, 2009.

According to government sources, the govt is optimistic that these companies will have the wherewithal to actually get the closure by the deadline, as most of the companies had indicated serious interest in the projects.

Among the 12 companies are: Titan Energy Systems, Reliance Energy, Tata BP Solar, and PV Technologies India ( a subsidiary of Moser Baer).

Together, the companies could invest about 76,000 crores, over a 10-year period. Boy, that’s a lot, real big – about $15 billion. But then, they are attacking a real big problem.

There are three criteria based on which the in-principle nod was given by the govt to these 12 companies:

1. The project parameters should be clearly made out with a proper project report
2. The applicant and investor should be clearly identifiable
3. The applicant must have identified location for the project and taken steps to procure land for the project.

Under the special incentive package scheme (SIPS) that the government has proposed for these solar PV projects, the centre will provide incentive of 20% capital expenditure during the first 10 years for the units in special economic zones and 25% of the capital expenditure in non-SEZ zones.

I should say that I’m quite surprised that the government has moved fast on this. You will recall that we had discussed the National Solar Mission . I dismissed it as yet another governmental whim; it looks I’m wrong – in this case, I’m happy that I’m!

$15 billion (at about $6 million per MW) will mean about 2500 MW (perhaps 3000 MW if one counts the government moolah on top of the private investments). This is far less than the 20000 MW that the government wants by 2020, but then it will be a great start if the whole thing indeed kicks off quickly.

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