Asserting that the Jawaharlal Nehru Solar Mission programme was a huge step towards India entering the clean energy era, U.S.-based renewable energy company Astronfield on Saturday said it would invest around $2-3 billion in bringing clean energy technologies to India during the next five years.

Astonfield company co-Chairman Sourabh Sen said here that nearly 17 Indian States project a huge opportunity in renewable energy sector and huge investments were being lined up for this purpose. “The fact that States like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Orissa and Gujarat are coming up with their own tariffs is very encouraging. This will help in attracting huge investments and create the right atmosphere for enhancing the share of clean energy in the total energy mix. We are already looking at an investment range of $2-3 billion,” Mr. Sen said.

He said India lacked significant oil deposits but it does have an abundant amount of another vital fuel, Sun. India has some of the best solar radiation levels in the world. However, he said to ensure widespread electrification in an affordable and sustainable manner, the private sector must lower costs. India has set the stage for an unprecedented deployment of solar energy. “We are a renewable energy company with a close eye on the solar thermal space. I see that 10-15 per cent drop in prices of solar technology and PV (photovoltaic) cells during the next two years which will be of great help to promote clean energy mechanism,” Mr. Sen said.

Stating that his company had already made a beginning in India, Mr. Sen said Astonfield was executing a 11.5 MW solar project in Gujarat and another 5 MW project in Rajasthan. Talks were already on for another 5MW project at Bakuma in West Bengal.

The 5 MW solar PV plant in Osiyan, Rajasthan, under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, will be the first solar project commissioned by Astonfield and is expected to start contributing to the grid by the end of this year. Although, this plant will be set up on 30 acres, a total of 185 acres has been secured under a long term lease to support a phase two build out of an additional 20 MW. The Osyian plant is expected to bring over 150 jobs to the local community and have capacity to power around 13,000 homes.

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