When Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked about the dream of harnessing solar power in Davos at the World Economic Forum, it was not mere rhetoric. Back home, data show, that India, indeed, has been taking a giant stride towards tapping the solar energy, with latest data showing that the country has achieved 20 GW solar capacity target, meant for 2022 in 2018 — four years ahead of the deadline.
In fact, in 2015, the Union Cabinet, chaired by Narendra Modi, approved stepping up of India’s solar power capacity target by five times to 100 GW by 2022. With the new target, India will become one of the largest green energy producers in the world.
According to Mercom India, a leading clean energy market tracker, India has achieved a milestone 20 GW in cumulative solar installations to date. The target of achieving 20GW solar capacity target under the National Solar Mission “has been reached four years ahead of time”. Telangana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Rajasthan are the states that have topped solar installations target.
(Data: Mercom India Research)”This demonstrates the commitment by the new government,” Mercom India said in a report. According to Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker, the utility-scale cumulative installations total for India now stand at 18.4 GW, with rooftop solar accounting for another 1.6 GW. However, the report also said that it took India eight years to reach 20 GWs. The report also says that the pace of solar installations may not be as impressive “as several protectionist government policies appear poised to increase costs and uncertainty.”
“Private solar companies in India have gained vital experience over the years and are looking for the government to create an environment conducive for growth and remove the policy uncertainties that are currently plaguing the industry,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group.
The new target of 100 GW will have 40 GW Rooftop and 60 GW through large and medium scale grid connected solar power projects. The government will invest Rs 6,00,000 crore for the 100 GW target. The government may also approach bilateral and international donors as also the Green Climate Fund for achieving this target.
The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission was launched in 2009 with a target for Grid Connected Solar Projects of 20 GW by 2022. Between 2010 and 2015, the price of solar energy came down significantly from Rs 17.90 per unit in 2010 to under Rs 7 per unit.