India surpasses 4 GW of installed solar PV


India's Ministry of New and Renwable Energy (MNRE) has released data on solar deployment for the first four months of fiscal year 2015-2016, which began on April 1. By the end of July, MNRE reports that 358 MW of additional grid-tied solar was installed.

When added to the 3744 MW of solar already deployed in the nation, India has reached 4102 MW of grid-tied solar. This category spans both solar PV and concentrating solar power (CSP), however PV represents the vast majority. MNRE also reports a cumulative 234 MW of off-grid solar to date.

Mercom Capital monitors the Indian solar market, and in a market update published in mid-August put the numbers slightly higher, at 4349 MW of operational PV and 209 MW of CSP, for a total of over 4.5 GW of solar. The company estimates that India has installed 1.4 GW of solar to date in calendar year 2015, which is more than total installations in calendar years 2012, 2013 or 2014, when the market stagnated at or below 1 GW.

“This is the highest ever already for India, and we still have four or five months to go, so it is going to be a pretty good year,” notes Mercom CEO Raj Prabhu. As part of the market update, Mercom has raised its calendar year 2015 forecast for India to 2.5 GW.

Prabhu cautions against attributing too much credit to the incoming Modi Administration, noting that much of what has been put online this year has been the result of policies implemented before Narendra Modi's BJP party took office in May 2014.

However, he expects the 100 GW goal for 2022 and array of new policies implemented under Modi to impact India's solar market next year, and for the market to continue its growth path. While Mercom has not released a 2016 forecast for India, Prabhu says he is expecting solid growth. “India could be in the top five global markets for the next five years, on a consistent basis,” he predicts.

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