India plans to hold global bidding by mid 2011 for developers to set up power plants that use a mix of solar and fossil fuels.

“We propose a demonstration of solar thermal hybrid plants,” Deepak Gupta, secretary of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, said at a conference today in Mumbai. “We’re deciding right now how much capacity it should be.”

Gupta said the plants will be allowed to use a mix of solar and natural gas or other fossil fuels depending on what is most suitable to the location.

India has shortlisted seven companies that will have the first crack at building nearly 500 MW of solar thermal capacity in the first phase of the country’s National Solar Mission.

In what amounts to an investment commitment of over Rs 7,000 crore under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd (NVVN) has selected a total of seven bidders including Reliance Power to build 479 MW power generation capacity based on concentrated solar power (CSP) technology in the first phase of the scheme.

NVVN is the nodal agency for the implementation of the first phase of the programme. Of this, Reliance Power, Lanco and KVK Energy will develop 100 MW capacity each. Megha Engineering, Godavari Power and Corporate Ispat will build solar plants of 50 MW each. The balance capacity will be developed by Arum Renewables.

NVVN is expected to issue Letter of Intent (LoI) to selected bidders by December end. Power purchase agreements (PPAs) should be signed by February. Developers are required to achieve financial closure for allocated projects within six months. Projects have to be commissioned within two years from the date of financial closure.

Areva and the Indian Institute of Technology, or ITT, in Rajasthan located in Jodhpur, have signed an R&D cooperation agreement in the field of solar thermal.

This works aim to develop hybrid energy solutions (gas/solar thermal), which are key to helping reduce India’s carbon footprint, Areva said.

Areva intends to contribute to the development of renewable energy sources in India. The group aims to position itself as a strategic actor in this domain, the company added.

www.teriin.org/opet/reports/solarthermal.pdf

www.cognizance.org.in/main/pages/technovision/Dr_Garud_Teri.pdf