India's Modi raises solar investment target to $100 bln by 2022

Fri Jan 2, 2015 4:33am EST
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* Wants to boost capacity 33-fold to 100,000 MW - official

* Solar share in India's energy mix to rise to 10 pct

* Previously Modi had targeted $100 bln for all renewables

* Solar to close cost gap vs thermal in three years

By Krishna N. Das and Swetha Gopinath

NEW DELHI/BANGALORE, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ramped up his target for solar energy as he bets on renewables to help meet rising power demand and overcome the frequent outages that plague Asia's third largest economy, a senior official told Reuters.

India gets twice as much sunshine as many European countries that use solar power. But the clean energy source contributes less than 1 percent to India's energy mix, while its dependence on erratic coal supplies causes chronic power cuts that idle industry and hurt growth.

Modi now wants companies from China, Japan, Germany and the United States to lead investments of $100 billion over seven years to boost India's solar energy capacity by 33 times to 100,000 megawatts (MW), said Upendra Tripathy, the top official in the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

That would raise solar's share of India's total energy mix to more than 10 percent. In Germany, a leader in renewable energy, solar accounted for about 6 percent of total power generated in 2014.   Continued...