India may have operational solar power capacity of close to 20 GW by March 2017 if projects under the states’ and central solar power policies go ahead as per the schedule.

An estimated 10.8 GW capacity is expected to be added between April 2016 and March 2017, a recently issued document by the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) states. A huge portion of this capacity is expected to be added through central government policies while states would continue to play catch-up.

The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) is expected to have commissioned 1.6 GW capacity through the capital cost subsidy scheme. Additionally, 44 MW of canal-top solar power systems and 50 MW capacity at government-owned buildings and infrastructure is likely to be installed under the purview of SECI. 1 GW rooftop solar power capacity is also likely to be added by SECI.

India’s largest power generation company NTPC Limited will auction 3 GW solar power capacity under the bundling scheme. NTPC Limited would act like a nodal agency for implementation of these projects. Power from these projects will be bundled with power from coal-based power plants to reduce the effective off-take price. The company has already started these auctions and has also allocated some capacity. An estimated 2.5 GW capacity is expected to be commissioned in 2016-17 by project developers participating in these auctions.

NTPC Limited will also add substantial solar power capacity to its own power generation mix. The company may either develop these projects on its own or auction them to other developers, but these projects shall be owned by the company itself. NTPC plans to add just over 3 GW capacity through this and most of the 2.6 GW of that capacity is expected to the commissioned in 2016-17.

The MNRE has also asked NTPC Limited and Power Trading Corporation Limited to auction 1 GW capacity each through foreign currency equated tariff auctions. Through such auctions, prospective project developers would be able to bid in Euro, US Dollars, and Japanese Yen. About 1 GW capacity from this mode is expected to be commissioned in the next financial year.

Other central government-owned companies like Coal India Limited, Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency, and THDC Limited (formerly Tehri Hydro Development Corporation) are also expected to have 500 MW capacity commissioned.

Under the state solar power policies, Telangana is expected to add 500 MW capacity, while Punjab, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh are expected to add 300 MW capacity each. Uttar Pradesh is likely to see 215 MW capacity added.

Thus, a total of 9,244 MW solar power capacity is expected to be added under the central government policies while 1,615 MW capacity is expected to be added under the state solar power policies.

The MNRE estimates that around 4.3 GW capacity would added in financial year 2015-16, and with the estimated 10.8 GW capacity addition in 2016-17, India may have around 19 GW operational solar power capacity by March 2017.