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Finnish firm launches PV production in India to build solar tech portfolio

Fortum acquires Rajasthan PV plant in plan to gain experience in solar technologies and operating in Indian power market

Fortum said that it aims to invest some tens of millions of euros in developing its PV solar competence in India

A Finnish energy firm has launched solar production in India in a bid to build up a PV technology portfolio in the BRIC country. Fortum, which is based in Espoo, Finland, has acquired a solar power plant in the state of Rajasthan, Northwestern India.

The next generation energy company said its short term ambition is to build a small photovoltaic solar portfolio in order to gain experiences in different solar technologies and operating in the Indian power market.

In the short term, Fortum said that it is looking to invest some tens of millions of euros - including in this acquisition - in developing its PV solar competence and operations in India.

Matti Kaarnakari, managing director, Fortum India, said: "India is one of the most interesting countries for solar power development. Apart from the naturally favourable geographic location, India has ambitious plans for solar power on both national and state levels.

"Solar power fits well with Fortum's other CO2-free production and we believe it will play an important role in tomorrow's low carbon energy system," Kaarnakari added. "Solar power is a strong growth segment that will account for an increasing part of power generation in the future. Fast technological development is boosting competitiveness and on best markets, wholesale parity can be expected already within a few years' time."

The news from Fortum follows the company's involvement in forging ties between Finland and India across another sector of renewable energy, bioenergy. The company announced in May, this year, it is taking part in a bioenergy research programme, which aims to build up collaborations between forest and energy companies across the two countries.

The PV power plant in Rajasthan has been constructed as part of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), the Indian government's initiative for 22GW of installed solar power generation capacity by year 2022.

It has been fully operational for one year and has a nominal peak capacity of 5.4MW. Its annual production is approximately 9GWh. The plant will receive a higher, guaranteed electricity price for 25 years. The period and the prices for power generation under the government's power purchase agreement (PPA) are defined to ensure a sufficient return on investment, Fortum said.