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Solairedirect leads the National Solar Mission bidding process in India and shows the way to grid parity Solairedirect was selected on December 2nd by the Government of India as the best bidder in the second round of bidding for the National Solar Mission with a rate of 7.49 Rs/kWh (109 €/MWh) for a 5 MW project in Rajasthan. Solairedirect SA, France’s second largest solar power producer, won the bid for the 5-MW project to sell electricity as part of the 350-MW photovoltaics-based solar projects Batch II of Phase I of the National Solar Mission. Solairedirect emerged as the best bidder with a 7.49 Rs/kWh quote for a 5-MW project in the North-western state of Rajasthan, which boasts the country’s highest solar irradiation. The bids were presented before NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN), the power trading arm of National Thermal Power Corporation. Of the 400 bidders that had submitted quotes 160 were shortlisted for their proposal. The tender attracted bidders from around the world (India, Germany, USA, UK, France…) with a total of several GW of projects, and was structured as a reverse auction. Next to Solairedirect’s bid were major Indian companies such as Welspun and Mahindra, as well as global solar players such as Sun Edison. Commenting on this win, Thierry Lepercq, Chairman Solairedirect said,” India is one of the key markets in addition to South Africa, Chile, Morocco, Thailand, and Malaysia etc. where the company has entered recently. Solairedirect would like to set-up very large solar power plants across states in the country and would welcome assistance of local governments on land and grid evacuation availability.” Solairedirect started its India operations in 2010 by setting-up its subsidiary Solairedirect Energy India Private Limited headed by Gaurav Sood, the India Managing Director. According to Gaurav Sood, “we are proud in setting this low cost benchmark and making solar energy as a very competitive & important source in the energy mix of the country. Solairedirect has established a clear competitive leadership which will be translated into a state-of-the-art solar power plant at the earliest next year producing most competitive solar power in the country.” A key milestone that brings solar power into the real world of energy This result was made possible by Solairedirect’s pioneering strategy in the solar industry: A vertically-integrated business model, from module manufacturing to EPC and O&M and long term equity investing that allows for significant capex and cost reduction while trimming risks as well. This model helps the company to take the best advantage of the dramatic fall of cell and module prices over the last 12 months; A positioning as a true IPP (Independent Power Producer) which focuses on engineering the highest value for a solar MWh, as evidenced by the recent signing of Europe’s first market-based solar PPA (Power Purchase Agreement); The proven ability to generate investor confidence, both locally and globally, and raise massive amounts of financing (500 million euros to date) from prudent investors (which tend to demand lower returns and hence reduce the cost of capital); The capacity to establish relationships and joint ventures with local industrial and financial partners and stakeholders (including local governments) in such locations as France, South Africa – and India; The capacity to attract managerial talent and generate local empowerment: Solairedirect’s success in the NSM auction was built around an Indian team led by Gaurav Sood, Managing Director of Solairedirect Energy India Pvt. Ltd., based in Pune (Maharashtra), the company’s Indian subsidiary established in July 2010. By leading the JNNSM bidding Solairedirect shows the way forward for the solar industry, out of feed-in tariffs and other incentives and into the real world of energy, competing – and combining – with other sources of energy. Of particular interest is the fact that India uses more than 50 GW of diesel generation, a large part of which can now be displaced by solar power, which is now proven to be substantially less expensive by the latest round of JNNSM bidding. At the same-time the prices of coal- fired electricity are being hiked substantially, making an even bigger case for solar power generation. This is a huge opportunity that Solairedirect, along with its Indian partners, intends to seize – now. Its success in the JNNSM bidding establishes the company’s pioneering position in the race for universal solar – local, clean, abundant and affordable energy for the common man. Solairedirect India would be participating across other state programmes on its own & in partnership with other companies and will provide its technical expertise towards building high quality & high performing solar PV plants. Sood says we are looking forward to forging stronger ties with companies and other developers over the next months to increase our PPA pipeline and EPC business. Incidentally, last week in France, Solairedirect and the regional government of Poitou- Charentes signed Europe’s first power-purchase agreement for solar energy with Soregies, a local utility to build 60 megawatts in photovoltaic capacity and sell the power over 30 years at prices as low as 108 euros a megawatt hour. It was the first major market-based PPA in Europe ever signed for solar systems. About Solairedirect: Solairedirect is the first French solar-focused IPP. The company is present throughout the whole photovoltaic chain from modules downwards and has built and operates 120 MW in rooftop and ground-mounted systems by the end of 2011. Solairedirect offers innovative turnkey services (development, engineering, installation, finance and operations) and guarantees high-performance photovoltaic solutions at the best rates. The company is present on four continents, has 300 employees and estimated revenues for 2011 of € 210 million.
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