India: Energy 1 GW Exceeded: Renewable Power Booms in India

Editor: Dominik Stephan

Half of India’s now 1,020 MW of rooftop solar capacity has been installed in the last 12 months according to Bridge To India – but clouds are gathering on the horizon. The consultancy firm says the nation has added 513 MW of rooftop solar over the year to September 30.

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India Tops 1 GW of Rooftop Solar
India Tops 1 GW of Rooftop Solar
(Source: Energy Matters)

Delhi/India – A map (PDF) also recently published by the company indicates rooftop solar power system costs have fallen by 12 per cent per annum on average in the last four years. It expects India’s total rooftop capacity to reach 12.7 GW by 2021. It is an impressive figure, but not in line with the country’s goals.

India has set its sights on a target of a total of 100 GW of solar energy capacity by 2022 through the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM). For rooftop solar, the target is 40 GW by the same year. If Bridge To India’s 2021 rooftop PV projection is accurate, then 2022 will need to be a very, very busy year indeed.

Bridge To India states that 22 per cent of rooftop capacity installed in the last 12 months has been under an OPEX model (solar PPA). A third party developer finances and constructs the system at the customer’s premises and electricity generated by the solar panel array is sold to the customer under a long-term agreement. This arrangement has resulted in customers typically saving 20 per cent – 30 per cent on power costs without needing to stump up any initial outlay.

While the model is understandably popular, all is not sunshine. It seems investors are nervous about sinking their cash into it. “High perception of customer default risk and poor contract enforcement are affecting long-term growth prospects and flow of professional capital into this sector,” says the company; which believes OPEX is absolutely crucial in the country having a chance of meeting its solar goals.

If the problems plaguing the OPEX model can be addressed soon and investors flood in, then the installation ramp-up required can be more orderly.

As at July 31, 2016, the country had a cumulative total solar capacity of just over 8 GWs – no doubt the total has crept up quite a bit since then.

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