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The Indian government is expected to grant approval to the development of 3 solar power projects with a total capacity of 20 megawatts (MW) around the middle of June, according to Astonfield Renewable Resources.

Astonfield is the largest multi-modality renewable energy company in South Asia, with a portfolio of nearly 1GW of solar, biomass and waste-to-energy projects. An Indian firm, it will develop three solar projects, one 10MW facility in Handikund, Karnataka, a 5MW plant in Osiyan, Rajasthan, and another 5MW site in Bankura, West Bengal.

“We are awaiting approval from India’s National Solar Mission for the three projects and a decision from the government is likely to be made around the second week of June,” Priyadarshini Sanjay, managing director for Mercom Communications India, on behalf of Astonfield, tells Recharge.

Astonfield has entered into an agreement with US solar firm Belectric to build the Osiyan solar power plant.

The 5MW facility is expected to become operational at the end of this year or early-2011. The cost of the project was not revealed.

They add that the 5MW Bankura plant is targeted for completion during the first-half of 2011, while the 10MW Handikund plant is scheduled for completion later the same year.

Astonfield is likely to enter into joint ventures for the other two solar power projects at Bankura and Handikund, but the names of the potential partners were not revealed. A few Chinese firms, such as Suntech and Trina, have expressed interest in entering the Indian solar market. “We have been involved in a number of small projects in India, and the long-term potential for solar in India is fantastic,” says Walker Frost, senior marketing supervisor at Suntech..

“We look forward to working with Belectric in commissioning this first 5MW PV plant in Rajasthan, which will serve as a foundational project in our partnership and in the build out of India’s solar industry,” says Ameet Shah, co-chairman of Astonfield.

Belectric, a photovoltaic system integrator, has already completed site designs and engineering on the Osiyan plant. Construction work will commence immediate following approval from National Solar Mission

Belectric, which has over 75 commissioned power plants in Europe to date, will provide plant design, construction, and operations and maintenance services for the solar plant.

The Osiyan plant will occupy 30 acres of land. A total of 185 acres has been allocated under a long-term lease to allow for an additional 20MW to be built in future. The plant is expected to power approximately 13,000 homes with solar energy.

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