India: 4.3 GW of solar expected in 2015/16 fiscal year, major industry concerns voiced

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In its year-end review, India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has released updated figures for the country’s renewable energy capacity. Overall, it calculates around 38 GW of capacity has been grid-connected as of the end of October. Of this, solar comprises 4.6 GW. The leading solar states are Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.

To date this fiscal year – April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016 – 936.8 MW of solar has been commissioned. A total of 4.3 GW are expected by the end of March, 3.8 GW of which are under state policies and 570 MW under government policies. In 2016/17, this is expected to increase to 11 GW.

Major concerns

The government’s overarching goal is to increase this to 100 GW by 2022, comprising 40 GW of rooftop systems and 60 GW of ground-mounted plants. A tall order, when cumulative capacity is currently under 5 GW, and there are "major concerns" at state government level, including delays in signing PPAs and the cancellation of projects, says Bridge to India.

Its comments came after the end of COP21 in Paris, where it said that while India has not committed to reducing its emissions, it has pledged to reduce its carbon intensity, which will partly be achieved via the 100 GW solar target.

In a statement it commented, "… the main benefit of these climate negotiations has been to provide a short-term catalyst effect to the solar sector. But actual progress towards achieving the 100 GW target will depend more on improvements in solar technology (improving efficiency, falling cost) and domestic factors such as growing power demand and increasing public pressure for pollution abatement rather than execution of the COP21 agreement."

To achieve its solar goals, it added, central and state governments need to work together to imporve issues including land procurement, transmission and financing.

Recent activity

At the Paris talks, Indian Prime Minister Modi said India will install 12 GW of solar in 2016. The statement came on the back of the launch of the International Solar Alliance; a group comprised of over 120 countries aiming to make solar cheaper, more reliable and easier to connect to the grid.

Meanwhile, India’s largest coal producing state, Jharkhand, announced last week that it will hold a tender, its first, for 1.2 GW of solar. According to Bridge to India, 200 MW will be allocated for projects under 25 MW in size, while the remaining 1 GW will be for projects between 26 and 500 MW.