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19 February 2014

India announce new mega solar projects as part of Solar Mission

India's ambitious renewable energy targets are closer to being realised after the government announced plans to deliver four new 500MW solar projects.

The new projects are planned for Gujarat, Jammu, Kashmir and Rajasthan and the announcement follows proposals for a new 4GW solar mega project, also in Rajasthan, which would be the largest solar application in the world.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram used his budget address on Monday to announce the plans which indicate the country's progress with its Solar Mission policy and its target of bringing 20GW of solar capacity online by 2022.

Over 1.6GW has been introduced since the first phase of the programme which was announced in 2010.

Key elements of the plan could be under threat after the United States lodged its second complaint with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) last week, over India's use of domestic content requirements for companies supplying projects related to the Solar Mission.

U.S officials have argued that the projects are discriminating against U.S exports by requiring solar power developers to use equipment manufactured by companies based in India.

India responded to similar complaint last year by highlighting projects in the U.S that offer similar incentives. India also insisted that WTO rules mean certain strategic projects can be exempt from the labour and production obligations.

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