Cheaper Solar in India Prompts Rethink for More Coal Projects

India’s coal-power plant developers are growing more pessimistic about their projects after a plunge in the cost of electricity from solar panels improved the economics of renewable energy.

After a string of federal auctions, solar is suddenly the cheapest source of electricity in India. That’s darkening the outlook for the coal-fired power industry as projects struggle to find customers or face cancellation amid a glut of capacity.

“The crashing solar tariffs are creating a mental block for distribution companies and holding them back from signing long-term purchase agreements with conventional power producers,” said T. Adi Babu, chief operating officer for finance at Lanco Infratech Ltd., an Indian power producer. “A couple of years back, when people talked of solar reaching grid parity, people were skeptical. Now the solar tariffs have gone well below that. It is definitely making conventional players sit up and take notice.”

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