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French firm collaborates on Indian solar project built with US PV

Fonroche sets up first PV project under National Solar Mission policy with $15.9bn Indian group using First Solar’s thin film

The 5MW solar project is the first to be developed under India’s National Solar Mission’s Phase I Batch II policy

A French clean energy company is working with a USD 15.9bn Indian conglomerate to develop a solar plant in the BRIC country using US PV technology. PR Fonroche, a joint-venture between PR Clean Energy in India and Fonroche Energie in France, has collaborated with Mahindra EPC, part of the USD 15.9 billion Mahindra Group, to establish a solar photovoltaic based power plant (5 MWp) at Gajner Village in Bikaner, Rajasthan. The plant is being developed using thin film PV manufactured by US firm First Solar.  

The EU-BRIC collaboration is the first team to commission solar PV power plants under India’s National Solar Mission’s Phase I Batch II policy. The project will also be the first of two projects totalling 20MW to be commissioned by PR Fonroche and executed in collaboration with Mahindra EPC. This project was awarded to Fonroche Energie in December 2011 under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) scheme, which aims to increase capacity of Solar PV in the country to 20,000MW through solar power projects, by 2020.

Of the 22 companies allotted in Phase 1, Bidding Round 2, Fonroche is the first to begin operations in this batch. PR Fonroche and Mahindra EPC have therefore become the first team to commission solar PV power plants under the National Solar Mission Phase I Batch II.

The 5MW solar PV power plant, financed by Fonroche, is equipped to supply more than 9 million units of clean and green energy. It is expected that the clean energy the plant generates will displace nearly 7200 MT of CO2 annually.

The plant, which comprises more than 67,200 high output thin film technology Solar PV modules from First Solar and four power transformers to generate 5MWp, is spread across an area of 40 acres. Mahindra EPC’s turnkey scope of work included complete Design, Engineering, Procurement and Construction of the 5MWp solar power plant, including construction of a 2.7Km, 33 kV double circuit transmission line to export the generated power to a nearby grid substation.
Thierry Carcel, CEO, Fonroche, said: “Fonroche is pleased to partner with PR Clean Energy and Mahindra EPC on this project. We combine our experience, technical expertise and our solid know-how to finance, develop and build efficient solar plants and enable our utility partners to secure high-quality renewable generation assets in India.”

Pratap Raju, joint managing director, PR Fonroche, added: “We are pleased to have commissioned Fonroche’s first solar PV plant in India, and look forward to building more solar PV assets in the near future. Factors such as rapid land acquisition and a deep understanding of the financing mechanisms, complemented by the international edge that Fonroche brings to this partnership, have aided quick completion of the project.”

The news from Fonroche follows other companies working to boost solar power in India in 2012. This includes solar firms in other BRIC countries such as leading Chinese photovoltaic manufacturer RenaSola. The company announced it will develop its PV modules in India last November.