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IFC Helps Expand Solar Power Generation Infrastructure in India’s Rajasthan State

IFC / World Bank

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is working with India’s Rajasthan state to explore the state’s prospects as a solar manufacturing and power generation hub, establish research facilities, and help bring down energy costs.

IFC and Rajasthan state government are co-hosting a conference today titled, Rajasthan as a Solar Component Manufacturing Hub, that brings together policy makers, sector experts, international investors, and global and local solar manufacturing companies to share the latest insights on solar manufacturing opportunities in the state.

“Through interactions and in-depth discussions with major players, we hope to draw on their experience and network to help Rajasthan emerge as an attractive investment destination for solar manufacturing. This event is vital to understanding the needs of the private sector,” said Purushottam Agarwal, Commissioner, Bureau of Investment Promotion in Rajasthan.

Participants shared their views on incentive packages, support for infrastructure needs, identification of suitable zones for solar manufacturers, and exploring public-private partnerships to encourage solar sector development in the state.

“Rajasthan is one of the highest daily solar insulation recipients worldwide. A growing pipeline of generation projects, broad mineral base, relatively low labor cost, and a significant allied industry base are contributing to the state emerging as one of the leading markets for solar manufacturing,” said Hemant Mandal, IFC’s Senior Energy Specialist in South Asia.

Clean energy is a global strategic priority for IFC and it has led many innovative renewable energy investments in South Asia in recent years.

The conference is part of a three-year knowledge partnership between IFC and the state government to develop Rajasthan as a preferred investment location across key infrastructure sectors, helping increase employment and overall development. Ernst & Young also supports the knowledge partnership.

Rajasthan accounts for 80 percent of the total allocation made so far under India’s National Solar Mission plan. The state has assigned top priority to stepping up private investment in solar power and has already taken several steps in this direction. India announced the National Solar Mission in January 2010, with a phased implementation approach of working with state governments, policy makers, regulators, and power utilities to help establish solar energy leadership.

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IFC invests $4 mn to build solar power plant in India

International Finance Corporation (Ifc) on Thursday announced an investment of $4 million to build the country’s first large scale grid connected thin-film solar power plant, which will help bolster clean energy locally and provide additional electricity to about 11,000 people.

The investment by Ifc, a member of the World Bank Group, into Sapphire Industrial Infrastructures, a subsidiary of Moser Baer Clean Energy, will support the construction of a 5-megawatt solar plant at Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu.

“Ifc recognises the potential of large-scale solar power generation to help meet India’s enormous energy needs,” country head-Solar Farms at Moser Baer Clean Energy Rajya Ghei said.

The learning from this project will help us replicate similar projects in other Indian states, Ghai added.

The solar plant will have the capacity to produce eight million units of power annually, and is expected to avoid approximately 6,600 tonnes of greenhouse-gas emissions per year.

Grid connected solar electricity has received lukewarm response from the private sector in India due to higher initial investment and generation costs as compared to conventional energy sources.

“The successful commissioning of this first large scale thin film solar photo-voltaic plant demonstrates private sector’s ability to rise to the challenges associated with achieving a balanced energy mix,” Ifc director, Infrastructure Asia, Anita George, said.

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