The Indian government has given a strong push to develop the solar energy sector in India when it launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM). In that spirit, the Maharashtra Power Generation Corporation Ltd. (Mahagenco) completed the construction of a 125 MW solar PV power plant at Shivajinagar, Sakri, in the Dhule district of Maharashtra. KfW supported this project in the form of concessional financing on behalf of the German government and the full 125 MW capacity is in operation since March 2013.
Mahagenco’s Sakri Solar Power Plant is one of the largest of its kind in India and also one of the largest in the world. The plant is supplying 240,000 households in Maharashtra with clean power resulting in the reduction of CO2 emissions equivalent to taking 40,000 cars off the road annually. The total project covers an area of around 400 hectares of idle land that is not suitable for agricultural usage.
At the time of loan signing, there was only limited solar PV experience in India totaling only a few MW of utility scale installations. The financial closure of such a large project at that time was a significant breakthrough in motivating domestic commercial financing to the Indian solar sector. At the time of tendering, the project revealed “best-in-country” cost per watt of solar power, primarily due to synergies and economies of scale generated by the size of the project.
The project was constructed by a host of contractors and sub-contractors mainly headquartered in India and in this manner served as en excellent opportunity to further develop the growing industry for solar energy in the country. Different photovoltaic technologies and materials for generating solar power are employed and this allows for long-term and local experience with these different technologies in a climate with abundant sun and resulting high ambient temperatures.
KfW also provided grant financing of technical assistance measures on behalf of the German government. This technical assistance ensured high quality in technical, commercial and procedural matters and was thus a big enabler towards establishing a landmark solar power-plant for the Indian energy sector. In addition, parallel site analyses financed by KfW on behalf of the German government and conducted in the framework of the Maharashtra Solar Valley Cluster Initiative are helping to identify further highly promising sites in Maharashtra.