India’s solar capacity tops 10GW, shows study

India is expected to add new solar capacity of 5.1 gigawatts this year, which is a growth of 137% over last year, says Bridge To India


Mumbai: India’s total installed solar capacity, including rooftop and off-grid projects, has crossed 10 gigawatts (GW), according to Bridge To India, a renewable energy-focused consultancy and research firm.

The country has a target of setting up 100 GW of solar energy capacity by 2022.

India is expected to add new solar capacity of 5.1 GW this year, which is a growth of 137% over last year, Bridge To India said on Friday. It expects annual capacity addition of about 8-10 GW from next year.

“The pace of sector activity has picked up tremendously in the last two years because of strong government support and increasing price competitiveness of solar power. India is expected to become the world’s third biggest solar market from next year onwards after China and the US,” the consultancy said in a statement.

Amongst states, Tamil Nadu has the highest installed solar energy capacity, followed by Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. These seven states collectively account for more than 80% of total installed capacity as of mid-November, Bridge To India said.

M&A (mergers and acquisitions) activity in the renewable energy sector, especially in the solar sector, has been on the rise with the entry of global clean energy firms and financial investors, including pension funds and sovereign wealth funds. SoftBank Group, ReNew Power Ventures Pvt. Ltd, First Solar Inc., Tata Power Co. Ltd, Adani Power Ltd, CLP India and Fortum Oyj are some of the prominent solar project developers in the country.

India raised its 2022 solar energy target five-fold to 100 GW from an earlier target of 20 GW as part of the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s efforts to reduce dependence on coal-fuelled electricity.

Of the planned 100 GW capacity, 40 GW has to come from rooftop solar projects and 60 GW from grid-connected solar projects. India crossed 1 GW in total installed rooftop capacity last month.

Dozens of rooftop solar energy start-ups in India are looking to raise equity funding at a time when the sector needs to speed up capacity expansion, Mint reported on 27 October.

The government’s solar park scheme has been instrumental in tackling the two major hurdles of land acquisition and power evacuation for project development in the sector, Bridge To India said.

“The government originally envisaged developing 20 GW of solar park capacity by 2020 but the scheme has had an enthusiastic response from the private sector and the government is already planning to double this capacity to 40,000 megawatts. Further, eight green energy corridors are under construction, with financial assistance from German development bank KFW, to evacuate and integrate growing share of renewable energy into the grid,” it said.