The government had launched the state-specific bundling scheme for implementing 15 GW of grid-connected solar PV power plants under the National Solar Mission (NSM). The idea was that NTPC would install the projects over a five-year period, between 2014-15 and 2018-19, in three tranches.
Of the 3 GW already auctioned – the entire capacity of Tranche I – 2.75 GW have been commissioned, while 0.25 GW are under construction.
“Since the solar power price has fallen recently, it is not proposed to take up Tranche II (5GW) and III (7GW),” RK Singh, Minister of New & Renewable Energy recently informed the Lower House of the Parliament.
When the ambitious 15 GW plan was initially announced, solar tariffs were high, and the government planned to bundle expensive solar power with cheaper thermal power, to make it finically viable.
However, with tariffs touching a historic low of Rs 2.44 (US$0.034) per unit last year, and remaining under Rs 3.00 ($0.042) in most auctions, the bundling exercise is no longer necessary.
“A cumulative renewable energy capacity of 73.35 GW has been installed in the country including a total of 37.83 GW added in the past four years and the current year (up to October 2018).
“To achieve the balance target of 101.65 GW, an investment of about Rs 5.12 lakh crore (including Rs 3.78 lakh crore for solar energy) has been estimated as per average current capital cost,” the minister added.
India has set a target for installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by the year 2022, comprising 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from biomass and 5 GW from small hydropower.
To achieve this by 2022, the government said it will tender a further 60 GW of solar and 20 GW of wind capacity in 2018-19 and 2019-20.