New Delhi: With an eye on its ambitious target of 100,000 MW of solar power by 2022, the Central government is expected to tender solar power projects worth 4,431 MW across India in the February-March period.

Of the 4,431MW that the government is expected to tender in 60 days, starting 1 February, 3,156 MW will be tendered by the Solar Energy Corp. of India Ltd, while 1,050 MW will be by NTPC, 150 by the Bihar government and 75MW by the Central government’s public sector units.

After coming to power in May 2014, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government increased India’s solar power target from 20,000 MW to 100,000 MW by 2022. At present, India’s total grid connected solar power is only 5,248 MW; of that, Rajasthan alone has 1,264 MW.

Till 1 January, a total of 15,177 MW has already been tendered by the Central and state governments. Projects that are likely to be commissioned this financial year are expected to total to around 12,161 MW.

Experts point out that due to the difficult fiscal position, the road may not be very smooth for the sector in the days ahead.

“The Indian government is expected to table the budget for 2016-17 on 29 February. Due to severe constraints on the government’s fiscal position, room for new expenditure including spending on solar sector seems limited," said Vinay Rustagi, managing director of Bridge To India, a consulting and knowledge service provider in the renewable power sector.

While batting for intelligent use of the available fiscal resources, Rustagi said the budget is likely to approve funding for schemes that have already been announced. Some measures to promote the domestic manufacturing sector are also expected.

“Overall, the solar industry should not expect any significant funding support from the budget. If the government can rationalize the overall taxation structure and provide long-term visibility and certainty, that will be a major positive," Rustagi added.

Last month, the Union ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) said the government would soon unveil a new policy to promote manufacturing in the solar energy sector.

Since the time the government raised the target, there has been a huge buzz around the solar sector. India has witnessed a tariff drop from 18 per kWh a few years ago to a record 4.34 per unit quoted by Finland-based energy firm Fortum Finnsurya Energy for a 420 MW project in Rajasthan.

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