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Published on June 22nd, 2015 | by Anand Upadhyay


India Officially Ramps Up Solar Power Target To 100 GW By 2022

June 22nd, 2015 by  

For quite some time now, India’s national solar power capacity target has been quoted as 100 GW by 2022, mostly on the basis of speeches from ministers and high level bureaucrats. But there has always been some hesitation in doing so, as this was never ‘officially‘ announced. At times there have also been controversies regarding specific details.

Thankfully, in the wake of a new announcement, these confusions can be laid to rest.

On the 17th of June the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its approval to ramp up India’s solar power capacity target under the National Solar Mission by five times, to achieve 100 GW by 2022. The target has for now been split into 40 GW Rooftop and 60 GW through Large and Medium Scale Grid Connected Solar Power Projects, and is expected to entail an investment of ₹6000 billion (~$100 billion).SunEdison India Solar

Before formally accepting the new target, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) was asked to come out with an action plan. This now seems to be ready and a summary can be seen in the official press release.

MNRE intends to achieve the overall target under the three individual schemes of 19,200 MW each.

To begin with, a capital subsidy to the tune of ₹150.5 billion (~$2.51 billion) will be provided to develop rooftop solar projects across India. Additionally, solar power projects with an investment of about ₹900 billion (~$15 billion) will be developed using bundling mechanism with thermal power.

Further investment inflows have been planned from the large Public Sector Undertakings and Independent Power Producers (IPPs), with the state governments also coming out with state specific solar policies.

The government also has high hopes from the solar manufacturing sector which is expected to get a boost with the long-term trajectory of solar power capacity addition. Apart from creating technology hubs for manufacturing, this has a high potential to open up new employment opportunities.

Ambitious targets and the overall optimistic mood in the solar sector aside, the plans have faced some criticism. Some believe that the targets focus more on solar capacity addition than to provide energy access to the energy deprived. As DownToEarth quotes Chandra Bhushan, consulting editor of Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment,”The biggest social and economic impact of renewable energy will be providing clean energy to the energy deprived. But there are no incentives focused on developing decentralised energy-access solutions.”

Nevertheless, the big target was very much required to accelerate solar deployment in the country. With the way sector has been progressing recently, to be frank, the previous target of 20 GW seemed mediocre at best. Now whether or not 100 GW will actually be achieved is a difficult question to answer at this stage, especially in light of the very dynamic policy environment in the country. Let’s hope all the pieces fall into their place.

For our recent stories from the Indian solar market, continue reading here.

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About the Author

is an Associate Fellow with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI, New Delhi) - an independent, not-for-profit research institute focused on energy, environment, and sustainable development. Anand follows the Indian solar market at @indiasolarpost. He also writes at SolarMarket.IN. Views and opinion if any, are his own.

  • Graphite Gus

    The Indian Govt has no chance of reaching that target. They are dreaming.

    • mike_dyke

      So which bit of the plan do you think they are going to fail on then?
      Is it going to be getting the land to put the panels on, the purchasing/making of the panels themselves, installing thepanels on the land or connecting them up to the grid?

      • Matt

        3GW at end of 2014, 4GWs before end of 6/2015; let us call that 67% annual growth. If they keep that growth rate then on end of 2022 they have 181.5GWs; oh my! Yes, I assume they will not be able to maintain that rate. But roof top has not really started yet. Will they make 100 by 2022; I don’t know but I toast them trying. But lets assume the rate drops to 65% next year and fails by 5% each year, would be 30% in 2022. Yes they would miss the 100 target (84.3GW end of 2022), but would have 109.6 end of 2013. But doesn’t sound so crazy that way. Still, “miles to go before they sleep”.

        • mike_dyke

          Ah, none of my options 🙂

          The thing with targets is that when initially set, they look as though they are not possible, but if you put in a little bit more effort, then you can meet the target.

          Judging by your maths, it all depends if they can keep their momentum going. It’s going to be close, but possible – just what a target should be.

        • Spot on with the rooftop part. That is a market waiting to explode.

          • Calamity_Jean

            Don’t a lot of prosperous Indians keep a gasoline or diesel generator for use during power cuts? When rooftop solar + short-term storage come down in price enough to compete with private generators, the rooftop market in India will explode so loudly it will be heard around the world.

          • Only if you are referring to commercial premises. Otherwise in cities with regular outage people only on inverter-battery backup. Some companies have tried to get into this market with mixed results – http://www.su-kam.com/power-solution/solar-packages/conversion-kit

          • Calamity_Jean

            That’s interesting, because at least in the US the battery is the expensive part of the system. Maybe the price needs to come down a little more, or maybe it just needs one or two families per neighborhood to install solar panels and set an example for the area.

        • Calamity_Jean

          Is this a typo?

          “Yes they would miss the 100 target (84.3GW end of 2022), but would have 109.6 end of 2013. “

          Did you mean “2023” at the end of that sentence instead of 2013?

    • Ronald Brakels

      We have seen what China has done, so we know it is possible. You may have doubts they will meet their target, and I must admit there is some evidence of India not meeting all the targets it has set in the past. But over the past decade India has shown the ability to install large quantities of generating capacity and solar is just one form of clean generating capacity that has now become competitive. Utility scale solar has been bid in at 6 US cents a kilowatt-hour in a country with a comparable level of insolation and I expect India will soon match and then beat that price as the cost of solar power continues to decline. And not only will the cost off solar fall, but greater account is likely to be taken of the externalities that result from fossil fuel burning, and so I am optimistic.

      • Graphite Gus

        I was commenting on the dysfunctional, sclerotic, bureaucratic Indian Govt. Its great to have lofty goals, and I wish the Indian people well. Maybe I’ll be wrong, and this will be an example of the “new” India. I have my doubts.

        • Ronald Brakels

          India’s GDP per capita tripled over the past 10 or so years, which is basically the second best thing that has ever happened to humanity. So I’d like to know was that part of the old India or part of the new India?

      • dehydratedpaani

        If the current PM Modi gets a second term in 2019 he will surpass 100GW. Never before in India did we hear Solar being installed in GW only MW. And the rate at which these solar auctions are filling up it only vindicates Modi’s commitment to solar.

    • mirror

      Even if India fails and gets 80 GW, I say thats not bad at all. From 3 to 80!
      Now thats called as being positive and being Indian.

  • Ronald Brakels

    100 gigawatts is about 80 watts per Indian. That is enough to generate over a third of a kilowatt-hour per person which would come to more than one tenth of India’s current electricity production. And by the time the target is reached the cost of solar will have fallen which will result in more being built.

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