India is slowly building upon its installed solar power capacity, thanks to the comprehensive and ambitious National Solar Mission, state solar policies, and relatively increased enforcement of the Renewable Purchase Obligation. The country added almost 950 MW of solar power capacity between April 2013 and March 2014 (that is, FY2013-14).
The 56 percent increase in installed solar capacity witnessed in FY2013-14 was mainly due to projects commissioned under the state solar policies and the Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) scheme. Of the 2,632 MW installed capacity till 31 March 2014, 50 percent operates under the state solar policies.
Gujarat remains the clear leader among all Indian states with an installed capacity of 916 MW, but added only about 58 MW capacity during the last financial year. While the Gujarat government has some ambitious and innovative plans to cover water canals with solar panels, the official tender documents seeking investments from developers have not been released yet. Thus, following the commissioning of one of the largest solar parks in the world, the Gujarat solar market has been relatively dormant.
The state of Madhya Pradesh took the lead in adding capacity in FY2014. The state added almost 310 MW of solar PV capacity, which included the largest solar power plant in Asia. The 130 MW solar PV project owned by Welspun Power was commissioned in February 2014 at a total cost of over $170 million. The state government had awarded 175 MW of solar power capacity to project developers under the state policy while over 165 MW capacity was commissioned directly by the project developers under the REC scheme.
The state of Rajasthan, second in overall installed capacity in India, added almost 180 MW capacity. This included India’s largest solar thermal power plant, which has a generation capacity of 50 MW. The project is among the seven solar thermal power projects auctioned under the first phase of the National Solar Mission. A huge majority of the balance 130 MW capacity was added directly by the project developers through the REC scheme.
During the current financial year (April 2014 to March 2015), capacity is expected to be added mainly under the state solar policies as a number of project developers would line up solar PV projects for commissioning allocated to them through auctions conducted by several state governments. The only projects under the central policy expected to the commissioned this year could be the six solar thermal power projects which have been delayed by about two years.