India achieves solar capacity target before 2020 deadline

India has achieved a milestone 20 GW in cumulative solar installations to date, a Mercom India Research report said.

20 GW was the initial goal set up for 2022 by the National Solar Mission, which has been reached four years ahead of time. This demonstrates the commitment by the new government, which is working hard to achieve the revised target of 100 GW solar by 2022.

According to Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker, the utility-scale cumulative installations total for India now stands at 18.4 GW, with rooftop solar accounting for another 1.6 GW.

For the first time, solar was the top source of new power capacity additions in India during calendar year 2017, with preliminary figures gathered by Mercom showing that solar installations reached 9.6 GW and accounted for 45 percent of total capacity additions. The top state for solar installations was Telangana, followed by Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Rajasthan.

India’s rooftop solar sector also witnessed steady growth last year alongside the rise in grid-connected utility-scale solar. Rooftop solar accounts for 1.6 GW of the 20 GW of capacity installed so far, and could be bolstered by a new Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) policy designed to further its growth, the report said.

MNRE recently announced a new program that would provide distribution companies (DISCOMs) incentives for commissioning rooftop solar projects. The effectiveness of the program remains to be seen.

Even with the new MNRE initiative, the pace of overall solar installations is likely to be less impressive in 2018 as several protectionist government policies appear poised to increase costs and uncertainty, it said.

“The government’s revised solar installation target of 100 GW by 2022 has recently been clashing with Prime Minister Modi’s “Make in India” Initiative to promote domestic manufacturing. The recently announced 70 percent preliminary safeguard duty recommendation, the ongoing anti-dumping case, and a 7.85 percent port duty on imported modules are together creating an atmosphere of regulatory uncertainty that is taking a toll on the industry and slowing down installation activity,” Mercom Capital Group CEO Raj Prabhu said.

 

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