India Ups 2014 Solar PV Target By 30% To 1,000 MW

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India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has increased its faith in solar photovoltaic (PV) technology at the expense of concentrated solar power (CSP) technology. As a result, it has increased its target for installed solar PV capacity by 30% in FY2014-15 while slashing its CSP target by 90%.

The ministry is expected to auction 1,000 MW of solar photovoltaic capacity instead of the earlier planned 750 MW in FY2014-15. Of the 1,080 MW solar thermal power capacity initially planned for auction, only 100 MW would be offered to prospective project developers.

More Confidence In Solar PV

During the first phase of the National Solar Mission, the ministry had auctioned 470 MW of solar thermal power in seven different projects. These projects were supposed to be commissioned by the first half of 2012. Till this date, only one of these projects, with a generation capacity of 50 MW, has been commissioned.

The project developers have stated that they are facing issues during commissioning of the projects as the initial estimates about solar radiation were off the mark. The ministry has also admitted that the Indian market may not be ready to adopt solar thermal power technology yet. As a result, it has slashed the CSP targets in favour of greater solar PV targets.

India Behind Targets

The ministry had earlier planned to auction 1,550 MW of utility-scale solar PV capacity in FY2013-14 but was able to allocate only 750 MW. The economic slowdown, lack of funds, and an international trade dispute over use of imported solar PV modules made the ministry delay the auction.

With several state governments planning to implement ambitious capacity addition targets, hopefully the overall target for the second phase of the National Solar Mission will still be met.

The ministry has set a target to install 20,000 MW of grid-connected solar power capacity and 2,000 MW of off-grid solar power capacity by 2022 under the National Solar Mission. Recently, the ministry also expressed intentions to increase this target to 100,000 MW by 2030.

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