Sunborne Energy LLC, a solar-project developer backed by billionaire Vinod Khosla, is among companies bidding to build solar power plants in India’s Karnataka state, an official said.

The southern state held an auction last month to award contracts for 80 megawatts of solar projects that will benefit from an assured buyer and preferential rates. It received bids for 154 megawatts from companies including Sunborne, Kiran Energy Solar Power Pvt., Tata Power Co. (TPWR) and Atria Power Corp., N.S. Prasanna Kumar, managing director of Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd., the state agency overseeing the process, said.
The agency may name the winners next week, he said from the state capital of Bangalore. Of the 80 megawatts on offer, Karnataka plans to award 30 megawatts of solar-thermal capacity and 50 megawatts of photovoltaic capacity, Prasanna Kumar said. Solar-thermal plants use sunlight to heat liquids that produce steam for generators, while photovoltaic plants use panels to turn sunlight directly into power.
Two concentrated solar-thermal bids for 20 megawatts of capacity were received from Sunborne and Atria Power, Prasanna Kumar said. The rest of the bids were for photovoltaic projects, he said.
India aims to become one of the world’s fastest-growing solar markets by installing 20,000 megawatts, equivalent to about 18 nuclear plants, of sun-powered capacity by 2022. A separate auction run by the central government yesterday for 350 megawatts of capacity drew a record-low price for solar power of 7.49 rupees (15 U.S. cents) from Solairedirect SA, France’s second-largest solar power producer.