India gets record low bid to build solar power, Minister says

The price of solar power in India fell to a record low of 3.15 rupees (5 U.S. cents) a kilowatt-hour in a competitive tender where French firm Engie SA’s local arm won rights to develop 250 megawatts.

Power Minister Piyush Goyal confirmed the results on Twitter, saying the prices bid were a record low in the auction in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. The result is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambition to install 175 gigawatts of renewables by 2022 and will spur discussion about whether India can rely on solar for more of its electricity.

Engie bid under the name Solairedirect Energy India Pvt, according to Bridge to India, a research firm that tweeted a list of companies involved. An official at Engie had no public comment.

Other participants in the auction include Adani Group; Ostro Energy Pvt, which is backed by private equity firm Actis LLP; Canadian Solar Inc.; Greenko Energy Holdings; Azure Power Global Ltd.; and Mahindra Renewables Pvt Ltd., the renewable energy arm of automaker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.

This bids beat the previous record of 3.30 rupees a unit seen in February, when companies got rights to build 750 megawatts in the central India state Madhya Pradesh.

India currently has 51 gigawatts of installed clean energy capacity, according to government data.

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