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Published on November 23rd, 2014 | by Smiti


India Eyes 100 GW Solar Power Capacity By 2022

November 23rd, 2014 by  

While we have reported recently that India has hiked its solar power capacity target by five times and seeks to install 100 GW capacity by 2022, we’ll now consider some of the aspects of this enormous target.

Gujarat Solar Park

India’s recently announced target to install 100 GW solar power capacity by 2022 could make it one of the largest solar power markets in the world and put it in direct competition with China, which has also announced a target to achieve an installed solar power capacity of 100 GW by 2020. Essentially, India wants to do in five years what China plans to do in 10 years! While many believed that the initial target of 22 GW by 2022 would be difficult to achieve, there is an increased optimism regarding the new target. So what has changed?

A simple answer to that question is, the government. Following the world’s largest democratic elections earlier this year, the man who pioneered solar power in India ascended to the post of Prime Minister of India. Narendra Modi previously initiated the Gujarat solar power policy that attracted some of the leading global solar power companies to the Indian state. The policy led to Gujarat becoming the leading state in India in terms of installed solar power capacity, an achievement it has consistently maintained for the last five years.

Narendra Modi was clear from the word go that his government would significantly enhance the National Solar Mission. He has taken several measures to ensure that significant demand is generated and hurdles in investments are removed.

The Prime Minister has promised access to electricity for every household in the country by the end of the decade. India already has an installed capacity of 250 GW, dominated by fossil fuels, the additional electricity demand creates a massive opportunity for renewable energy resources.

The Solar Energy Corporation of India has already increased the solar power capacity it plans to auction and get installed over the next three to four years. The additional capacity is expected to come from state solar power policies. The recent state solar power auctions have attracted active participation from global leaders including First Solar and SunEdison.

The government is set to push for ultra mega solar power projects with capacities of up to 4 GW. A number of such projects are currently in various stages of development.

On the other side of the project size spectrum, things are looking good too. Small-scale projects that would cover thousands of kilometres of canals and millions of roofs are also catching up fast. State governments are trying to emulate the success achieved by Gujarat under Narendra Modi while he was the chief minister. A number of states are considering implementation of net-metering regulations to increase adoption rates in the domestic sector.

While policies and regulations are in place and the industry is also responding positively to the increased installation targets, whether the 100 GW target will be achieved or not would also depend on the removal of bureaucratic hurdles, availability of low-cost and sustained finance, and attractive tariffs.

Image Credit: Gujarat Power Corporation Limited

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About the Author

works as a senior solar engineer at a reputed engineering and management consultancy. She has conducted due diligence of several solar PV projects in India and Southeast Asia. She has keen interest in renewable energy, green buildings, environmental sustainability, and biofuels. She currently resides in New Delhi, India.

  • RK Mundoli

    Some of the basic requirements needed for meeting this target is as follows.
    1. Good evacuation facilities. 2. Companies/organisations capable of putting up projects. 3. Good and low cost financing based on project IRR. 4. Good contractors.

    Well as far as the project funding is concerned, I do not see the government doing anything. As far as evacuation facility is concerned, Modi had shown how to do this in Gujarat, but this needs to be replicated in many places. As far as good organisations are concerned, there are many, but many organisations are not having the long term perspective and is looking for short term profits. May be the utility itself needs to get into the act; but of government gets into this activity, then the quality and completion is all going to go haywire.As far as contractors are concerned, there are a few who have learned the ropes, but they need to pull up the socks and start doing a quality job.
    Another issue which is soon going to crop up will be the O&M of these projects. I do not presently see any company capable of systematic methods being adopted in this field.
    Well, the target is possible but it is going to need a superhuman effort.

  • Karn

    If India relies on imports to meet this target we won’t see the government even a 5th of its target .

  • jburt56

    Should be 100 GW per year.

    • Ronald Brakels

      The 1,000 gigawatts in seven years target alone would respresent one of the fastest growths in electricity production per capita the world has ever seen, so while I agree that 100 gigawatts a year would be better, it is a bit of a big ask.

    • Will E

      and can be

  • Ronald Brakels

    One hundred gigawatts of solar would provide about two thirds of a kilowatt-hour per Indian per day. Starting from a fairly low base that’s a huge amount of electricity to add. Let’s hope they can make their target and I think there is a good chance they can as the cost of solar continues to decline and the high costs of fossil fuels become more apparent. It’s not so difficult to do when the economics clearly favour it.

    • Karn

      Domestic consumption is only 40% if the total energy usage . Most of this could possibly go to industry .

  • No way

    100 GW means that they might have a shot at making those 22 GW in the end. India and indians overpromise and underachieve. Unlike the chinese where you know that a 100 GW target most likely is both met and surpassed by then.

    • Kevin McKinney

      I think your generalization is unjustified. India’s performance in 2013 was not half bad:

      • No way

        So only 98 GW left to go then… 😛 Well, they might get higher than the 22 GW but that generalization about India is in general right.

        So if they wanted to get close to 100 GW of solar by 2022 then they should at least put up a 200 GW goal now.

    • Philip W

      Don´t underestimate India and exponential growth of solar power 😉
      Yesterday 22GW target, today 100GW target. Tomorrow? 200GW target?

      • Bob_Wallace

        Correct. Solar has the potential to grow unlike any other energy technology.

        Individuals can install solar systems and rid themselves of the difficulties of dealing with an unreliable grid.

        A village can put up an array of panels and reduce their use of diesel. Installing a large wind turbine would a very difficult undertaking.

        • Will E

          Solar is the same over and over again and produces clean cheap and easy for decades or longer.
          so a target is easy to accomplish and doubled when started.
          go India.

      • No way

        Or in this case the exponential growth of the goals but not the real world added capacity. =P

        I do hope they get a steady increase of actual capacity added though. Solar is perfect in a country like India with lots of sun around the year and poor infrastructure. Giving even the most remote shed a possibility to get electricity.
        But there is a lot to do to get the actual capacity on the ground and to the people. And if they are successful in adding renewable and nuclear capacity while improving infrastrucure we might see a fair amount of coal reduction one day.

        • Will E

          do not agree. how many Solar you have yourself?
          get some install yourself
          and get experienced in Solar easyness. India will go fast.

          • No way

            I assume you have never been to India nor followed their historical goals vs. implementation in the energy sector. If you had then I’m pretty sure you would take the 100 GW goal with a bucket of salt too.

      • Simple Indian

        Give tax break of 5 or ten years, everyone from world will flock to put in solar, wind, bio-digester (large scale and small scale).

        Awareness campaign about judicious use of energy. Replacement of inefficient appliances. Within ten years we are free from carbon emissions.

    • Ronald Brakels

      100 gigawatts of solar represents an increase of about 26% in kilowatt-hours per captia in seven years. Currently India manages that in about five years. While the target is ambitious, it is not impossible.

    • Rahul Agrawal

      Man, you know nothing about Modi.

      • Larmion

        So far, Modi has set ambitious goals but achieved nothing (obviously, since his limited time in office). Note that his government also has ambitious targets for expanding coal generation.

        It’s still far too early to say Modi is an improvement. Let’s talk in a year or two when he has had the chance to prove himself.

        • Rahul Agrawal

          He is new in center. But he was Chief Minister of state of Gujrat for more than a decade… I know his abilities.

    • Keshav

      If the Congress party were still ruling then I would have agreed with you but this time it’s BJP and that too Modi who’s a known solar energy lover…His state Gujrat was the only state in India which exported electricity to other Indian states..

  • JamesWimberley

    I read the target as aspirational: it means “as much as we possibly can.” China has had numerous hiccups in its successful expansion of solar, and India starts from a lower base in terms of technical and administrative experience, supply chains, and skilled workers. Still, solar technology has essentially constant reyrns to scale in the short run: 1m panels have very much the same yield and unit cost as 1,000. We shall certainly see very rapid growth in India.

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