India adds 10.4 GW of solar in FY 2017-18, Karnataka leads the way

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In its latest India Solar Map Report, Bridge to India finds that a record 10.4 GW of new solar PV capacity was added across the country in 2017-18, of which 9.1 GW comprised utility-scale solar – thus marking a 72% increase on the prior financial year.

In comparison, coal and wind added just 4.6 GW and 1.7 GW, respectively, in 2017-18.

Lagging behind is the solar PV rooftop sector in India, which saw just over 1 GW installed in 2017-18, thus bringing total capacity to 2.4 GW; and off-grid, where 217 MW in 2017-18 brought total installations to 691 MW.

Overall, the analysts state that as of March 2018, cumulative PV capacity in India had reached 24.4 GW, 21.3 GW of which falls into the utility-scale sector.

In the open access market – where large consumers may procure power directly from the market through the grid – Bridge to India has seen “exponential growth” of 275%, which translates to 1.7 GW of capacity.

Overall, the state of Karnataka deployed 4.1 GW of new capacity, thus overtaking Telangana, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu to become the number one solar state in India.

 Concerns

While the Indian Government is bold in its solar goals, having recently upped its original 100 GW solar target by 22%, to 225 GW, and outlined its plans to becoming the number one renewable energy market globally – which includes 500 GW of capacity by 2030, and a recently mooted 100 GW tender – Bridge to India is more skeptical.

“Indian solar market has grown spectacularly over last four years. But we are still at only 24.4 GW, way short of the 100 GW target,” said managing director, Vinay Rustagi.

He added, “It is not going to be easy as activity is expected to slow down in the current year before picking up again in 2019-20. While falling prices and government support have helped in boosted demand, supply side factors like land and transmission still remain a concern.”