India’s Utility Solar Capacity Skyrockets to 72 per cent

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India’s utility solar capacity grew by a whopping 72% in 2017-18 over the previous year, says solar consultancy Bridge To India in its latest annual report on the sector. It installed 9.1GW of utility solar against 5.5GW in 2016-17.

Total solar installation was 10.4GW, the rest comprising rooftop solar plants and off-grid solutions, taking the country’s cumulative solar capacity to 24.4GW.

Solar capacity addition in 2017-18 was higher than that of all other energy sources, both conventional and renewable, combined, the report notes. In comparison coal and wind only added 4.6GW and 1.7GW respectively.

Among the states, Karnataka added the most capacity at 4.1GW, which was 46% of total capacity installed in 2017-18. This also makes Karnataka the state with the largest commissioned solar capacity in the country, at 5.2GW. The report notes that the open access market in the state grew substantially because of favorable exemptions under its solar policy, but that these are being phased out from this year.

The second highest cumulative capacity was in Telangana (3.28GW), followed by Rajasthan (2.3GW), Andhra Pradesh (2.28GW) and Tamil Nadu (1.86GW).

Adani Green Energy, Renew Power, and Acme Solar were the top three developers in 2017-18, installing a total capacity of 2.3GW between them, according to the study.

According to Economic Times, Vinay Rustagi, Managing Director, Bridge to India said that Indian solar market has grown spectacularly over last four years. But we are still only at 24.4GW, way short of the 100GW target.

The government had set the 100GW target in 2015, as part of an overall renewable energy target of 175GW for 2022. Recently, the new and renewable energy ministry announced it expects to surpass this target to reach 227GW, including 113.5GW of onshore solar and another 31GW of floating solar and wind.

The study, however, estimates that capacity addition will be lower in 2018-19 because of a slowdown in tender activity in late 2016 and early 2017. The majority of installations this year were driven by state government tenders.

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