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Singapore, Saudi companies push Indian solar tariffs to record low

FILE PHOTO: Workers clean photovoltaic panels inside a solar power plant in Gujarat, July 2, 2015. REUTERS/Amit Dave/Files/File Photo

CHENNAI (Reuters) - The Indian units of Singapore-based Sembcorp Industries Ltd and Saudi Arabia-based Aljomaih Holding Co won government auctions to sell solar power for a record low of 2 rupees ($0.0270) per kilo watt hour (kWh), sources said.

The tariff represented a discount of nearly a sixth from the lowest bid for solar power of 2.36 rupees in the auctions conducted by Solar Energy Corp of India Ltd (SECI) in June.

India, the world’s third-biggest greenhouse gas emitter, has set a target of raising its renewable energy to 175 gigawatts (GW) by 2022 and 450 GW, from about 90 GW now.

Sembcorp’s Indian unit Green Infra Wind Energy Ltd will operate a solar plant with a capacity of 400 megawatts (MW), while Aljomaih Energy and Water Co will construct a 200 MW plant, a screengrab of the results of the auctions conducted by state-run Solar Energy Corp of India Ltd (SECI) showed.

Three sources familiar with the matter, including a SECI official, independently confirmed the development. NTPC and Sembcorp declined comment. Reuters was not able to contact Aljomaih for comment beyond regular business hours.

SECI, the country’s main agency for renewable energy adoption, awards contracts to the company offering to sell electricity at the lowest price, following which a power purchase agreement (PPA) is signed.

The decline in renewable energy generation costs has helped India in its drive to use green power to fight climate change. India’s largest electricity generator NTPC Ltd won the licence to operate the remaining 470 MW at 2.01 rupees per kWh. The companies will develop the power plants in India’s northwestern desert state of Rajasthan.

($1 = 74.1883 Indian rupees)

(Corrects last paragraph to show Rajasthan is a northwestern state, not northeastern)

Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan; editing by Barbara Lewis and David Goodman