All-out efforts by the Indian government to boost renewable energy generation in the country have reached another milestone as the operational solar power capacity crossed 10 gigawatts.
The Minister of power, coal and renewable energy Piyush Goyal recently stated that the installed solar power capacity in India has crossed 10 gigawatts. The milestone was achieved after a 45 megawatts project was commissioned at Badhla solar power park in India. The solar power park will host one of the cheapest projects in the country.
In May 2014, when the present government came to power, the installed solar power capacity was 2,600 megawatts. The new government increased the targeted installed solar power capacity from 22 gigawatts by 2022 to 100 gigawatts. Several millions dollars were announced in financial support while state governments were encouraged to increase the share of solar power in their power mix. This led to a massive increase in solar power auctions, competition and sharp fall in tariffs.
A total of 14 gigawatts capacity is reportedly under construction or at the design stage. A large portion of this capacity is expected to be commissioned during the upcoming financial year, stating 1 April 2017. An additional 6 gigawatts capacity is also scheduled to be auctioned soon.
The government expects installed solar power capacity to grow to 20 gigawatts over the next 15 months.
Way behind target
While achieving 10 gigawatts solar power capacity is no mean feat, especially if one considers that the capacity was just 2.6 gigawatts three years back, the capacity addition lags well behind the target set by the government itself.
The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) had set a target to add 12 gigawatts solar power capacity between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017. On 10 March 2017, the cumulative installed solar power capacity in India stood at 10 gigawatts, meaning that only around 3.2 gigawatts was added since 1 April 2016.