Indian solar capacity triples in three years to push past 10 GW

The NTPC's involvement in the Bhadla Solar Park is a boon for PV development in Rajasthan.

Death, taxes, and Indian solar reaching and surpassing 10 GW: the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) at the weekend confirmed the inevitable, with power minister Piyush Goyal tweeting: “Bright Future: India has crossed 10,000 MW of solar power capacity today. More than three times increase in less than three years.”

In May 2014, India’s cumulative solar PV capacity stood at 2.6 GW. Since then, the wheels of development have turned remarkably quickly, with a 45 MW solar project in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, developed by NTPC Ltd, taking that cumulative figure beyond 10 GW over the past few days.

India seeks to accelerate this rate of development further towards its ambitious 100 GW by 2022 target, and has an estimated 14 GW of solar projects under construction or soon-to-be developed. Furthermore, the Indian government will auction 6 GW of additional solar capacity very soon, and analysts expect India to leapfrog Japan to become the world’s third-most dynamic solar market in 2017, potentially joining China and the U.S. in posting double-digit GW growth.

Last year, India’s solar footprint grew by around 4 GW, and the government has been proactive in amending and molding policy to ensure continued investment in the nation’s ground-mounted sector. Such incentives include cheaper renewable energy certificates (RECs) and a broader solar park target.

The market has duly responded, posting some of the world’s cheapest solar power prices – most notably in Madhya Pradesh, where an auction for 750 MW of solar capacity set a new low tariff of INR 2.97 per unit ($0.0444/kWh) in February.