Clean Power

Published on April 7th, 2014 | by Guest Contributor


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

April 7th, 2014 by  

Sun shining through clouds via Shutterstock

Sun rays via Shutterstock

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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  • serry

    1 gw for 1.2 billion people. This is very very little in the big scope of what India needs for electricity. A little little piece of intermittent, low efficiency green wash taking up land better used for other purposes.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Some people might look at that way.

      Other people recognize that India is installing clean generation that will pump out needed power for the next 40+ years. It will allow them to cut spending on diesel and save money. It will allow them to cut back on coal burning which will free up a large amount of badly needed fresh water and give them cleaner air.

      And people who are familiar with India recognize that it’s a great big place with a fair amount of low quality land. As long as the panels aren’t mounted over good agricultural land all will be good.

      (Catch up. The world is leaving you behind.)

  • Diego Delgado

    1/15th of what China is planning to do.

  • JamesWimberley

    An even bigger data problem on India is that the National Solar Mission is a central-government programme not a policy. It’s both complementary to and competitive with state programmes, which in some cases like Gujarat are considerable. Narendra Modi, the chauvinist but effective prime minister of Gujarat, is the leading contender to become India’s next national Prime Minister. if he wins, national policy is likely to shift away from the megaprojects in the Rajasthan desert favoured by MNRE and in favour of distributed solar.

    Zach: a plea to put time into explaining India’s renewables for us.This matters a lot more than Tesla sales in Norway, though I agree these are exciting.

    Unlike China, India is a chaotic democracy with innovation at the edge and central policies (look at coal and nuclear) going spectacularly off the rails. It has air pollution issues, if less than China, a faster-growing, younger and urbanising population.

    The issue India has that China has not comes from the democracy: farmers expect cheap electricity, and as the majority of the electorate, they have to be placated.
    Modi fixed the electricity supply in Gujarat by creating a separate grid for rural irrigation, and limiting farmers to a fixed number of hours of subsidised electricity, enough to run the wells and pumps. Urban consumers get 24/7 electricity at a market price. They all accepted this because he kept his side of the bargain: the supply is more reliable than before. He’s an effective, determined and unscrupulous operator.

    • These targets are only for the central level. State governments are completely free to enhance (or reduce) their targets. But whatever capacity the state governments add will be accounted for under the National Solar Mission.

      Even the projects which have been commissioned directly by the project developers under the Renewable Energy Certificate Scheme will be accounted for under NSM.

      State governments have been adding capacity at a very high speed. For example, Karnataka had planned to add 200 MW capacity under its state policy only by 2016. It has already auctioned 210 MW capacity and released a tender for 50 MW capacity two weeks back.

      India aims to add a total of 10,000 MW capacity under the second phase of NSM (2013-2017). Only 4,000 MW of this capacity is expected to come from the central policies, the balance 6,000 MW would come from state policies. A number of states have either announced or awarded projects with cumulative capacity of 5,000 MW while others are planning to announce similar policies soon.

      The solar thermal power capacity may have been slashed under the central policy but the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has already started working on 4,000 MW solar PV park in Rajasthan and 1,000 MW solar PV park in Andhra Pradesh. This would be separate from the NSM auctions.

  • Matt

    Lets do a little old math. Old targets 750MW PV and 1080MW solar thermal. New targets 1000MW PV and 100MW solar thermal. So the total goes from 1830MW to 1100MW. And they have not been making their targets. So the news is no where near as sunny as the head line.

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