India needs more PV capacity to reach 2027 target of 186 GW


From pv magazine India

India’s 14th National Electricity Plan (NEP14) sets out solar capacity targets of 185.6 GW by fiscal 2026-27, reaching 364.6 GW by fiscal 2031-32.

To achieve these targets, India needs to increase its current annual solar capacity addition by about 36% each year leading up to 2026-27, according to a recent report by Ember.

“The recent addition of 12.9 GW in FY 2023 [bringing the total national solar capacity to 66.7 GW] will be insufficient to reach the FY 2027 NEP solar capacity target of 185.6 GW. As the target year approaches, India would need to achieve a 36% year-on-year increase in solar capacity to remain on track for the 2027 goal,” states Ember. “This means that India would need to commission a minimum of 17.5 GW in FY 2024, with a further ramp-up to 41 GW by FY 2027.”

Ember adds that beyond fiscal 2027, even if India continues to sustain its annual build rate of 41 GW per year, it will surpass its fiscal 2032 target capacity of 365 GW by a comfortable margin. Solar and wind will fuel two-thirds of India’s power generation growth in the 10-year period from fiscal 2022-32, should India meets its renewables targets, as outlined in NEP14.

NEP14, published by India’s Central Electricity Authority (CEA), estimates India’s total annual electricity generation to grow by 1,174 TWh in fiscal 2022-32, reaching a total of 2,666 TWh in fiscal 2032. Solar generation is expected to rise from 73 TWh in fiscal 2022 to 666 TWh in fiscal 2032. Wind power will increase from 69 TWh to 258 TWh over the same time frame.

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“Annual solar and wind generation are expected to rise by 593 TWh and 189 TWh, respectively, which combined constitute 66% of India’s power generation growth in this 10-year period,” said Ember. “This marks a significant transition from the preceding decade when coal power accounted for around 80% of generation growth.”

If India successfully meets its solar targets outlined in NEP14, the solar energy's contribution to the nation's power generation is projected to increase significantly. It is expected to grow from 5% in fiscal 2022 to 25% in fiscal 2032. This shift suggests that India's power sector, which has been primarily coal-driven over the past decade, may experience a substantial transition in the coming ten years, with solar and wind energy playing a major role, assuming India stays on course to achieve its NEP14 goals.

As the adoption of solar energy expands in India, there is also growing demand for increased energy storage capacity to effectively manage peak power demands during the evenings and early mornings. This need is highlighted by recent instances of power shortages.

“India’s electricity supply landscape is projected to change quite significantly in the next decade or so, with solar and wind likely to drive the growth in generation,” said Neshwin Rodrigues, Ember’s India electricity policy analyst. “Given their variable nature, a significant increase in storage capacity is crucial to balance generation and demand.”

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