India Can Add 145 GW Solar Power Capacity By 2024: Report

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Gujarat Solar Park
An aerial view of India’s largest solar park in Gujarat, India

India can have an installed solar power capacity more than six times what it plans to have over the next ten years, a recent report claims.

The report, published by Bridge To India in association with Tata Power Solar, states that India has the potential to install 145 GW of solar power capacity across various project sizes by 2024. The report states the capacity addition potential across four plant sizes: residential rooftop (1-5 kW), industrial and commercial rooftop (10-500 kW), utility-scale projects (5-50 MW) and ultra mega solar power projects (1-3 GW).

The report notes that such a large capacity addition is possible as conventional fuels like coal are getting expensive and scarce. The levelized cost of energy (LCOE) from solar energy is now at par with that of imported coal. While the LCOE for imported coal is expected to increase with a compounded annual growth rate of 12% over the next ten years, the LCOE for solar power is expected to fall with a CAGR of 4%. Solar power will match LCOE of new domestic coal-fired power plants in 2019.

The reports notes that commercial, industrial, and utility-scale projects have the highest potential in capacity addition over the next ten years. Industries are struggling to procure the required electricity through conventional means, even if they are ready to pay a premium; additionally, they also face high tariffs from distribution companies. Utility-scale projects would also be highly successful as the business model is a tried and tested one. Almost the entire solar power capacity operational in India today is the result of competitive bidding organized by state utilities looking to procure solar power.

Both these segments, industrial rooftop and utility-scale, can see up to 42 GW capacity addition each by 2024.

Residential rooftop segment represents up to 35 GW capacity addition by 2024. While the rooftop systems can be installed within days, the supporting external infrastructure for, say, net metering takes time. While a number of state governments have issued net metering regulations, and also provide financial assistance to homeowners, doubts over the grid’s ability to absorb the resulting electricity remain.

Ultra mega solar power projects with capacities of up to 4 GW have been planned by the Indian government. This segment could see up to 27 GW of cumulative capacity added by 2024. Such projects are being planned across India, and will also be supported by dedicated transmission corridors. The central government has announced a financial package of $83 million for four such projects this year.

While the figure of 145 GW seems too high and based on theoretical calculations rather than ground realities, the report does rightly project the massive potential that the Indian solar power market offers. Under the National Solar Mission, India plans to have a cumulative installed solar power capacity of 22 GW. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy hopes to have 100 GW capacity installed by 2030.

Image Credit: Gujarat Power Corporation Limited

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Mridul Chadha

Mridul currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.

Mridul Chadha has 425 posts and counting. See all posts by Mridul Chadha

21 thoughts on “India Can Add 145 GW Solar Power Capacity By 2024: Report

  • “While the figure of 145 GW seems too high and based on theoretical calculations rather than ground realities ..”
    Why? Germany has already installed 37GW of pv solar, almost all in the last 5 years, for a population of 81m, or 456 watts per head. For India’s population of 1.27 billion, 145 GW would be 114 watts per head in ten years: a tenth of the German per capita rate per year. There’s no technical reason why this can’t be done. There may be economic reasons, but the demand seems to be there at current solar prices.

    • Its the bureaucracy. Everything else is absolutely perfect for a huge surge in solar power capacity addition in India.

      Last week, I had written a post which stated that Rajasthan government plans to ditch a large solar power project because it was proposed by the opposition when the latter was in power.

      Andhra Pradesh got split into two. 100s of MWs of solar power capacity was auctioned before the division but no word on their future. The two new states have now set out to conduct new auctions.

      As you said, the prices are low and demand is very high. National Solar Mission has a target of 22 GW by 2022 while the government’s own target to increase share of solar power translates into installed capacity of 34 GW by 2022.

      • Dear Mridul,
        Your inputs are very valuable. I would like to know from you on HR front that Is India ready with experts manpower in Renewable Energy/solar.

        • Dear Rajiv,

          You face is very valuable. I would like a bigger picture from you on HR front because I can’t discern all of your facial hair.

          • Mr.S.Nkm,
            Jokes apart.
            The question by Rajiv is very sensitve and is to be addressed while the targets are talked about in multi MW and GWs.

    • I think the biggest worry from manufacturers is sustained demand.

      India is very price sensitive. Consider that during monsoon season, large parts of India can be covered by clouds, and I’d guess that industry & commerce (the main drivers of consumption growth by far) want reliable power, i.e. coal backup built alongside solar. In that case, does solar only displace fuel cost as opposed to the full LCOE of coal? Domestic coal is really cheap in India at less than $1/GJ. Solar would have to be less than 2c/kWh to compete with that.

      What the solar industry needs in India is policy to price in the external costs of coal. Then they’ll have certainty.

      • It’s a common misconception that solar power doesn’t work under clouds. Germany for example is nearly always cloudy but the frequencies that are highest in solar energy go right through clouds. In addition, most of India’s plans are in Gujarat and Rajasthan which are in the monsoon’s rain shadow and are not very cloudy.

    • Well said James.

  • I agree, James, but that’s not as bad as the last sentence:

    “The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy hopes to have 100,000 GW capacity installed by 2030.”

    Given that “The electricity sector in India had an installed capacity of 250.256 GW as of end July 2014,” Wiki, 100,000 GW of ‘new and renewable’ generation would indeed be a remarkable feat! 😉

    • The report says 145GW solar would provide 13% of energy in 2024. 100GW in 2030 would be a far smaller share, and not remarkable at all, IMO.

      • 100, sure, but 100,000???

        • Touché.

    • Its me too feel that it could be a typo error that is 100 instead of 100,000. Mridul to confirm.

      • Yes it is an error. Should have been 100 GW. Will be corrected soon.

  • It’s impossible to predict what global warming will bring in the coming decades. A few super-storms and severe droughts will finally shut the fossil fools up but it will be far too late. Near panic will mean a huge spike in renewable energy projects along with building seawalls.
    And the super-rich will only get richer.

  • Your last sentence said:The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy hopes to have 100,000 GW capacity installed by 2030. Since nobody noticed the mistake, I am sure that you meant to say 100,000 MW or 100 GW by 2030. I dont think that the whole world produces 100,000 GW at the present time or will ever produce that in the near future.

  • Often predictions go wrong especially in Energy Generation in India. Even the Target for the First Phase of National Solar Mission was not met. Let us be realistic in our forecast. Mere playing into the gallery helps none.
    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

  • Renewable Energy the Fastest Growing Energy Sector of 2015 in India.

Comments are closed.