Wind and Solar Grows to a Combined 58.2 GW in India, but Not Enough

Wind and Solar continued to grow and dominate the renewables mix, but the overall growth of the sector in the last quarter remains surprisingly low.

According to the latest data released by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), India reached 23,877 MW of total solar deployment and 34,402 MW of operational wind power as of 31 July this year.

In solar the distribution was, grid-connected solar deployments accounted for just over 23.1 GW of which 21,892MW was provided by ground-mount installations and the remaining 1,223MW from rooftop solar installations. Besides grid-connected solar, off-grid solar developments crossed 762 MW in the same time.

In terms of installations made during the period between April’18-July’18,

  • 257.12 MW of wind power was added to the grid, with the cumulative goal for the financial year set at 4000 MW.
  • 1304.57 MW of grid-connected ground mounted solar power was added to the network which expects to reach 10 GW of installations by the end of the year.
  • 159.02 MW of grid-connected rooftop solar projects were completed, of the 1000 MW target set for the year.
  • 90.15 MW of off-grid solar photo-voltaic projects were developed in the same period.

 

The numbers from the first four months of the financial year paint a very weary picture. The ministry has met only a tiny proportion of their targets with a third of the year already over. For wind and solar, only 6 and 13 percent of the targets were met, way off the expected 33 percent. The abysmal numbers can largely be accredited to the lethargic and careless attitude of the people in charge. Solar which has been touted as the future energy source has a long way to go before it can actually match fossil fuels or effectively replace them. However, with goals that seem far-fetched for those in command and a dire attitude, that change might be further than initially expected.

While multi-gigawatt auctions like NTPCs 2 GW tender and 1 GW tender for development of solar projects in Dholera Park, have come thick and fast over the same period following some clarity on the Goods and Service Tax (GST) and customs duty, the recent imposition of a safeguard duty and its subsequent temporary deferral is likely to cause widespread confusion in the industry. More worryingly, there has been a trend of auction cancellations due to high tariffs, even for some auctions that took place before the safeguard duty announcement. In 2018, auctions have been completed for 12,570MW of solar projects, but almost one-third of this, 3,900MW capacity, has been cancelled.

The distress in the Indian solar market between the developers, manufacturers and the issuing authorities will need to be addressed before the sector can go any further and contribute to more than its existing 8% of the total energy share.

 

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Ayush Verma

Ayush Verma

Ayush is a correspondent at iamrenew.com and writes on renewable energy and sustainability. As an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he also works as a staff writer for saurenergy.com.

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