Indian solar to hit 75 GW by 2022, says report

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A report by Cleveland’s Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) has forecast that India is likely to fall agonizingly short of hitting its goal of installing 100 GW of solar PV capacity by 2022, reaching instead a still-impressive 75 GW.

This figure would represent more than one-fifth of India’s entire electricity demand by that date, generating 110 tWh – 22% – of all required power increase over the next seven years, said the report.

However, although solar PV will play a huge role in the development of 175 GW of clean energy capacity between now and 2022, the achievement of hitting 75 GW will still see the country fall short of the target outlined in the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM).

With the support of the JNNSM, India is likely to end 2015 with cumulative installed solar PV capacity of 5 GW, which means that to achieve 100 GW by 2022 the country would have to increase its solar market at a compound annual growth rate of 63%.

According to Mercom Capital, India is on course to grow its solar capacity by 2.5 GW this year, and is certainly poised to become a leading player in the global solar landscape. The JNNSM target of 100 GW is split 60/40 in favor of large-scale installations, with 40 GW planned for rooftop solar – the sector where India may struggle to meet its aims.

IEEFA’s report, however, anticipates a China-like solar expansion in India, with the next five years characterized by accelerating growth that will echo China’s meteoric rise of 1 GW in 2010 to close to 33 GW at the end of 2014, says Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

"India is replicating Germany’s and China’s systematic electricity sector transformation, with the added advantage that the cost effectiveness of this is accentuated by the fact that the price of solar electricity has dropped by 80% in five years," said IEEFA director of energy finance studies, Tim Buckley.

The wider energy goal of the Indian government is to ringfence the country’s energy security, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has targeted renewable energy as the most likely route to energy independence. The goal is to hit 175 GW of solar PV, wind, and biomass generation by 2022, and the country has earmarked around $200 billion in investment required.

Recent signs are that solar’s potential is being fully explored and understood, and the IEEFA report follows hot on the heels of news that India has now struck the lowest Indian PV price – central Indian state Madhya Pradesh recently accepted a bid for a project selling solar power at a record low of $0.08 per kWh.