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Indian prime minister signs £2bn solar deal

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Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has signed £10bn worth of trade deals on his recent UK visit, including £2bn of investment in India by Lightsource Renewable Energy.

Lightsource will design, install and manage 3GW of PV infrastructure in India over the next five years. The deal will create £42m revenue in the UK and 300 jobs, whilst benefiting hundreds of Indian families.

Nick Boyle, CEO of Lightsource Renewable Energy, said: “We are delighted to be announcing this investment in India. The government in India has ambitious plans to electrify India and Lightsource will contribute significantly to that goal. India will be a key market for Lightsource in the future.”

Energy secretary, Amber Rudd, said: “The UK and India’s partnership on energy in going from strength to strength. We share world-class expertise in research and innovation. The UK’s experience in green finance and technology in particular makes us well-placed to work together to promote secure, affordable and sustainable supplies of energy and address climate change.”

The Solar Trade Association says the deal is further evidence of the short-sightedness of UK government policy to reduce financial support for domestic PV. It adds that British businesses will not be in a position to compete internationally again if homegrown jobs are put at risk by slashing subsidies.

“We are delighted that Cameron is now going to support Modi’s new solar alliance and wants to being down costs, but that could ring hollow if his government effectively abandons the technology here in the UK,” said Leonie Greene, head of external affairs.

“The 3GW that a single British company is now going to build in India is six times more than the capacity our government is proposing nationally under the Feed-in Tariff over the next three years.

“This statement demonstrates how backing your domestic industry is an investment in exports and exponential growth prospects later on.”