India achieves a major milestone in solar power capacity

India is expected to become the world’s third biggest solar market next year, after China and the US. An average annual capacity addition of 8-10 GW per annum is expected from next year.

Utility-scale solar accounts for more than 85 per cent of the total installed capacity. Rooftop solar, so far about 10 per cent of the sector, has also grown at a healthy CAGR of 98 per cent between 2011 and 2015 and is expected to play an increasingly important role in the sector.

Improving net metering implementation and subsidy disbursal are expected to lead to a significant demand boost for rooftop solar across consumer segments. There is also a strong impetus on increasing rooftop solar deployment in government-owned buildings. Around 1500 MW of potential rooftop solar capacity has been identified in central ministries and departments alone.

However, the off-grid segment, which is important from the point of view of increasing access to electricity and relieving stress on the transmission grid, has reached 360 MW till mid-November 2016.

Some key themes can be observed in the growth of the Indian solar market so far. Among the states, Tamil Nadu has the highest installed capacity, followed by Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. These seven states collectively accounted for more than 80 per cent of total installed capacity as of mid-November 2016. Some of the larger power consuming states such as Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh are way behind in the sector.

The report pointed out that the solar park scheme has also been instrumental in tackling the two major issues of land acquisition and power evacuation for project development.

The government originally envisaged developing 20,000 MW of solar park capacity by 2020, but the scheme has received an enthusiastic response from the private sector and the government is already planning to double this capacity to 40,000 MW. Further, eight green energy corridors are under construction, with financial assistance from German development bank KFW, to evacuate and integrate the growing share of renewable energy into the grid. The corridors will allow transmission of solar power from the solar rich states to other states.

Also, the growing solar market in India has attracted the attention of leading investors from both India and other countries, including the US, Europe, Japan and China. The list of active project developers in the market includes prestigious names including Softbank, Fortum, CLP, Adani, Tata Power, ReNew and First Solar, it said.

Credits The Hindu Business Line

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