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NEW DELHI: NTPC Ltd will help Mali develop a 500 MW solar power park, a statement by the state-owned power generator said Wednesday. India’s largest power generation utility has been awarded the project management consultancy contract by the West African nation, making it the second country after Togo to do so.

This comes in the backdrop of Indian state-owned firms including Solar Energy Corporation of India’ plan to land overseas business under the aegis of International Solar Alliance (ISA), as China continues to co-opt countries into its ambitious One Belt One Road initiative.

According to information reviewed by Mint, of the 500 MW solar park capacity, 450 MW will be connected to Mali’ national power grid.

With an installed capacity of 62 GW, NTPC is targeting similar contracts to help set up 10 giga watt (GW) capacity in ISA member countries, NTPC said in the statement. NTPC accounts for nearly a fifth of India’s installed power generation capacity of 370 GW.

ISA is the first treaty-based international government organization headquartered in India and is increasingly being viewed as a foreign policy tool. Its strategy is to leverage the demand from the member countries to reduce costs by aggregating the demand from member nations and then call for tenders. It has aggregated demand for solar pumps, rooftops, mini-grids, parks and home systems that require around $5 billion of financing requirement.

“Solar parks are being showcased as a best practice from India which had started solar parks as a novel concept and has commissioned a number of projects, thus bringing down cost of solar energy substantially, bringing in investment, creating employment and benefitting the environment in the process," the statement said.

India has 34.6 GW of solar power, with an aim to have 100 GW of solar capacity by 2022.There are also new plans in the works. Mint reported on 12 September about the central government’ plan of making state-run companies build massive clean energy parks to help developers achieve economies of scale and further bring down solar and wind power tariffs.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Utpal Bhaskar

"Utpal Bhaskar leads Mint's policy and economy coverage. He is part of Mint’s launch team, which he joined as a staff writer in 2006. Widely cited by authors and think-tanks, he has reported extensively on the intersection of India’s policy, polity and corporate space.
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