Indian PV market set to expand

BP Solar CEO Reyad Fezzani commented: "The Indian Solar PV market is likely to grow five-fold to 150 megawatts. In the long term, [it] is poised to become a world-scale market by 2022, stimulated by the supportive policies announced by the Government of India."

However, while solar energy has great potential as a renewable energy source for India, in terms of resource availability, flexibility in scale and applications, it is one of the most expensive of such options today. The solar irradiation in India is about 5,000 trillion kilowatt-hours annually, and the yield per kilowatt peak (kWh/kWp) of installed PV capacity is 1,700 to 1,900 kilowatt-hours.

In a recent report, McKinsey & Company noted that India belongs to the regions of the highest solar radiation in the world, along with the U.S. and Hawaii. According to SEMI India, the country is the seventh largest producer of solar cells. PV modules and cells manufactured in India comply with global standards; they boast a quality comparable with those manufactured in competing nations.

Gauging these strengths, the Indian government declared the "ambitious" National Solar Mission, which targets 20,000 megawatts of solar power by 2022 and forms a part of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). The target value is to be achieved by utilizing solar PV power and solar thermal power technology to yield 10,000 megawatts respectively.

The plan additionally targets 2,000 megawatts of off-grid applications. With this the country has categorically shown that it has adopted a pro-active stand on climate change and is moving away from a carbon-intensive, business-as-usual scenario. "The Solar Mission in India is an inspiration to developing countries and is a vision to action progression," explains Indra Haraksingh, president of the Caribbean Solar Energy Society.

Read the full article on India’s National Solar Mission, "Full power ahead", by Jaideep Malaviya in the June edition of pv magazine, pp. 46 – 51.