India’s largest fuel producer Coal India (CIL) is planning to build solar projects worth INR70bn ($1.2bn) in the country, in a bid to compensate for the carbon pollution caused by its plants.

Recently, the Union Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal said that CIL and power producer NTPC were "massive polluters" and had to give back their bit to the society.

Currently, Coal India is in talks with the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy for establishing plants with a total combined capacity of 1,000MW, reports Live Mint, citing sources familiar with the matter.

CIL will need almost 5,000 acres of land for the intended 1,000MW solar projects.

This move is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to offer continuous power supply to households and businesses in order to drive the national economy, reports the publication.

Coal plants continue to be a major supplier for electricity, catering to almost 60% of the power requirement; however, a shortage in coal has led to severe power shortages across India.

"India’s widespread shortage of coal has caused the country to lower its dependency on coal-fired power plants."

Due to this shortage, the country aims to cut down its dependency on coal-fired power plants.

Modi expects investments worth $100bn to pour into the renewable sector.

The Union Renewable Energy Ministry had stated earlier about the government’s plans to raise the country’s solar power capacity from the current 2,800MW to 10,000MW by March 2017, and for this an investment of more than INR500bn ($8.2bn) is required.

Last week, the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) signed an agreement with Andhra Pradesh, a southern province in India, for establishing solar power projects with a combined capacity of 1,000MW.

Meanwhile, the union government intends to sell 10% of CIL stake in order to handle the budget deficit.

Image: CIL plans to build solar projects with a combined capacity of 1,000MW in India. Photo: courtesy of Naypong /