India’s solar market has been growing steadily for quite some time, and now it seems all set to zoom away at a much faster pace.
As per the latest data made available by the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy MNRE (PDF), 4.35 GW of utility-scale solar and grid connected rooftop solar capacity will be added during FY 2015-16, with FY 2016-17 numbers adding up to 10.86 GW. However, these projections only include projects for which power purchase agreements have been signed or tenders have been announced and/or are in process.
Considering that India’s cumulative installed solar capacity stands at a little over 4 GW, on the basis of expected additions, the tally will almost double in a year, and more than quadruple in another.
The projects in the solar pipeline in India add up to about 13 GW at the moment, with major contributions coming in from southern states (Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka), which are reeling under high levels of power deficit.
If things go as planned, the cumulative figure by 2017 will be close to 19 GW. India’s previous solar target, by the way, was to reach 20 GW by 2022. This goal has now been increased five-fold to 100 GW.
A number of recent independent forecast reports have shown confidence in India’s solar progress.
Some time back, Deutsche Bank revised its solar forecast for India up from 14 GW by 2020 to a promising 34 GW by 2020. Recently, another report released by the Cleveland-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis predicted that the installed capacity of solar power in India can cross 75 GW by 2022.
The numbers available from MNRE, though, help paint a picture that is grounded more on actual numbers. This is reassuring, considering that solar is going to be the mainstay of India’s actions to both mitigate climate change and meet its energy needs.