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Reliance and Areva to build 250MW CSP capacity in India

French multinational Areva and Indian energy group Reliance are to build a 250MW concentrated solar power (CSP) project in India, a scheme which the two companies say will be “the largest in Asia”.

Reliance, the project developer, has awarded Areva a contract to build the two 125 MW CSP plants in Rajasthan, using the French company’s Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) technology. Scheduled to come online in May 2013, the first phase of the project is already under construction.

India aims to build an additional 20GW of solar capacity by 2022, and JP Chalasani, chief executive of Reliance Power, hinted that this could be the first of many solar projects built by the two companies.

“Today’s announcement is just the beginning,” he said. “We look forward to working with Areva in helping meet India’s clean energy goals through this project.”

Areva’s chief executive, Luc Oursel, said: “Areva is delighted to help deliver on the promise of India’s progressive solar energy goals and to advance Reliance’s bold vision for a global clean energy portfolio.”

In total, Areva now has around 500MW of CSP capacity in operation, under construction in “advanced development”, the company said.

The deal with Reliance comes as part of a major push by the French engineering company to step up its activities in the solar sector around the world. In Australia, the company has been contracted to build a 44 MW solar thermal addition to the coal-fired Kogan Creek power station, while in the USA, is has secured a partnership with Tucson Electric Power to develop a solar augmentation project in Arizona.

The announcement comes just days after Areva won a key deal to supply turbines to a 500MW offshore wind project in northern France, in the first round of France’s offshore wind tenders. Working partnership with Spanish utility Iberdrola and UK wind developer RES, Areva will produce 100 of its 5MW turbines for the scheme, at a new factory in the French port of Le Havre.

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