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India Pushing The Boundaries Of Solar Ambition

India has already proven itself capable of delivering on the promises it makes regarding expanding its use of solar power, and now the world’s second largest population is set to revamp their country’s National Solar Mission again.

New Delhi-based advisory company Bridge to India has provided “unconfirmed information” suggesting that India will soon announce plans to cancel the planned allocation of 1,500 MW by April, in favor of a much more ambitious plan of as much as 15 GW of new capacity by 2019 — up from its existing plan of 3.6 GW by 2017.

That’s a five-fold increase!

Earlier this year India reached 2,600 MW of installed solar power capacity, thanks primarily to “projects commissioned under the state solar policies and the Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) scheme,” wrote Mridul Chadha in April. To reach an installed capacity of 15 GW by 2019 would require a minimum of 2.5 GW of new capacity installed each year — but that doesn’t appear to be something India is concerned about.

Bridge to India believes that reaching the 15 GW target would be spread across three phases of allocations — the first of which could begin as early as next month.

While all of the information is currently simply speculation on the part of Bridge to India, the news has been picked up by several news agencies, including Bloomberg.

According to Bridge to India’s information, the three phases would look something like this:

  • Phase 1 (2014-2015) — Three solar parks, each measuring in at 1 GW, possibly set to be built in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Madhya Pradesh
  • Phase 2 (2016-2017) — The Indian government could allocate 5 GW under this phase, which would move away from bundling power and towards incentives in the form of interest rate subsidy.
  • Phase 3 (2018-2019) — Would envision 7 GW with no more incentives being necessary if developers are provided with aggregated land and transmission infrastructure

As Bridge to India notes in their Weekly Update —  “While this revamp is yet to be confirmed, it is clear that the consequences would be significant” — an understatement if ever I heard one.

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