PEOPLE | Cesar Tordesillas, India

Lanco's Saibaba foresees India solar costs cheapening by 40%

India's solar power costs could fall by more than 40 percent by 2015, said Lanco Solar CEO V. Saibaba.

Solar technology in India could provide a kilowatt hour of power at about 7 to 8 rupees a unit in the next few years, down from the current 11 to 12 rupees, due to surging global capacity, he explained. 

This will allow the industry to compete against domestic oil and gas firms without the help of state subsidies. It would also enable solar power to become a more viable option to coal, which costs around 2 rupees a unit, in fueling Asia's third largest economy and the world's third-worst carbon polluter.

"The most important thing is the economics of scale are coming," Saibaba said on the sidelines of an industry conference. "In the next three to four years, I see the solar power costs coming down to 7 to 8 rupees a unit."

Under its Solar Mission plan issued in 2009, India is to produce 1,300 megawatts of power by 2013 and 20 gigawatts by 2022 at an overall investment of about $70 billion.

Lanco Solar is one of 37 companies selected by India last year to build solar power projects, as the country looks to boost production from near zero.

"Given the current scenario with the way it is growing and the way costs are coming down, our industry will probably not require any financial support from the state going forward in maybe three to four years," Saibaba said.

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