India Doubles Solar Target

India Doubles Solar TargetIndia Doubles Solar Target

India will double the target for energy to be generated from solar parks by 2020, a top government official said, as roof-top installations progress slower than anticipated and US company SunEdison's projects are threatened by its bankruptcy.

The solar parks are sought after by companies because the Indian government acquires land for the installations and sets up transmission lines, major attractions in a country notorious for red tape and public opposition to land transfers, Reuters reported.

Debt-heavy SunEdison was one of the first companies to be drawn into the program to encourage solar use, bidding aggressively to win a 500-megawatt project in Andhra Pradesh State in India's south last November.

But after its bankruptcy, SunEdison has been forced to initiate stake-sale talks with companies like Adani Group and Finland's Fortum Oyj for funds, according to sources.

"We are adding 25 more solar parks to create a buffer for exigencies like SunEdison," Upendra Tripathy, secretary at the ministry of new and renewable energy, told Reuters on Monday. "Solar parks are a hit with companies. A lot of them are interested."

The new generation target of 40,000 megawatts for solar parks is likely to be approved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet in two months.

Japan's Softbank Corp, Taiwan's Foxconn and India's Bharti Enterprises have pledged to invest a total of about $20 billion in India's renewable sector. Global solar giants like First Solar Inc, Trina Solar Ltd and Fortum are also expanding their presence.

Modi wants India's solar capacity to jump nearly 30 times from 2014-15 levels to 100 gigawatts by 2020.