India rebukes analyst claims it will miss clean energy targets


Expert warnings that India will be falling short of its renewable deployment targets have sparked a strong-worded rebuke from the government, which has slammed them as “ill-founded”

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) said this week it is confident India will “not only meet but [also] exceed” its goal to hit 175GW in installed clean energy capacity by 2022, contradicting claims to the contrary by consultancy CRISIL.

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

Over the weekend, CRISIL analysts had released a note warning India's “enduring policy uncertainty and tariff glitches” could see renewable capacity grow only to 104GW by 2022, 42% short of the government’s 175GW target.

On Thursday, the Ministry countered by describing the claims as lacking credibility “in all respects” given CRISIL’s decision not to consult the government. The consultancy’s prediction “is neither factually correct nor takes into account initiatives taken by the [Ministry],” MNRE argued.

The Ministry pointed at the 82.58GW in installed renewables across the country as of September 2019. The addition of an under-construction 31.15GW by Q1 2021 – plus a further bidding-stage 39GW, set to be rolled out by Q3 2021 – would leave India just 23GW short of its target, MNRE said.

Growth, the Ministry argued, will be helped along by three recently-launched schemes. Up to 12GW of grid-linked solar could be deployed under the so-called CPSU programme, coupled with incentives for 20GW-plus of rooftop solar and a third scheme to roll out solar in farms.

A ‘material waning’ of developer interest amid policy swings

The CRISIL report at the heart of the controversy linked India’s slower-than-expected renewable growth to policy swings. The “incoherence”, the consultancy had claimed, has already been found to drive investors away over the past few months.

CRISIL offered figures to illustrate what it described as a “material waning” of developer interest in Indian renewables. According to the firm, 26% of the 64GW auctioned over the past fiscal year was met with muted or nonexistent bidding, with tender cancellation on the rise.

A particular issue, CRISIL said, has been the increasingly low tariff caps set by central and state power distributors. Coupled with land and capital costs, as well as payment delays, the low tariffs have crippled the viability of solar and wind projects, the consultancy claimed.

The Ministry’s retort on Thursday was that it has “worked systematically” to resolve issues with renewable policy, and has been “lauded” by market operators for its efforts to set up “competitive, transparent bidding”. On the subject of lower tariffs, MNRE said: “[The government’s] endeavour remain that renewable power is procured at a rate which is acceptable to distribution companies.”

MNRE had also words for one of India’s renewable controversies of recent months, that of the tariff renegotiation in the Andhra Pradesh state. The move, CRISIL had claimed, has resulted in clean energy players being owned 2,600 crore (around US$365 million) by the state’s discoms.

Admitting that the renewable journey has not been without “continuous challenges”, the Ministry said: “When [Andhra Pradesh] announced intention to revisit already signed PPAs, the Ministry very quickly clarified that no PPAs can be revisited unless there is a clause to do so in such agreement or a case of malafide of corruption is proved beyond doubt.”

Auspicious solar future after ‘extremely testing’ 2018

Whether it will be the Ministry’s or CRISIL’s predictions that end up materialising remains to be seen. The row over clean energy targets emerges after another review painted, earlier this year, a brighter picture for solar developers in particular.

In April, Fitch Solutions said India’s import tariffs and other policy headwinds would not stop the country from witnessing a four-fold solar boom between 2018 (26GW) and 2028 (105.9GW). Meanwhile, analysis by IRENA ranked the nation as the cheapest PV market of the G20 group.

The optimistic outlook contrasted with the somber 2018 experienced by Indian solar, which saw a 27.8% roll-out drop amid execution challenges and policy uncertainty. The year, consultancy Bridge to India said in February 2019, was “extremely testing”.

“Pretty much everything that could go wrong, did go wrong,” said Vinay Rustagi, managing director at Bridge to India. “2019 is expected to be better but the new government will have to work hard to re-build investor appetite.”

The row over clean energy targets emerges five months after prime minister Narendra Modi won a second five-year term after his landslide electoral victory in May. Together with French president Emmanuel Macron, the politician is one of two figures spearheading last year's launch of the International Solar Alliance

8 October 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
PV Tech has been running an annual PV CellTech Conference since 2016. PV CellTech USA, on 8-9 October 2024 is our second PV CellTech conference dedicated to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The event in 2023 was a sell out success and 2024 will once again gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing in the U.S. out to 2030 and beyond.
26 November 2024
Málaga, Spain
Understanding PV module supply to the European market in 2025. PV ModuleTech Europe 2024 is a two-day conference that tackles these challenges directly, with an agenda that addresses all aspects of module supplier selection; product availability, technology offerings, traceability of supply-chain, factory auditing, module testing and reliability, and company bankability.
11 March 2025
Frankfurt, Germany
The conference will gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing out to 2030 and beyond.

Read Next

May 29, 2024
The challenges facing Europe's solar sector are explored in depth in the latest edition of our quarterly journal, PV Tech Power.
May 28, 2024
The Italian solar sector installed over 1.7GW of solar PV capacity in Q1 2024, marking a significant increase compared with the same period in 2023.
May 24, 2024
Solar project developer Recurrent Energy has secured a €674 million (US$730 million) revolving credit facility to expand its European solar and battery energy storage system (BESS) portfolio.
May 24, 2024
Waaree Energies has signed an agreement to supply 445MW of modules to Statkraft India for a project in Bikaner, Rajasthan.
May 24, 2024
Indian solar installations increased by over 400% in the first quarter of 2024 to the highest quarterly deployment levels in its history.
May 23, 2024
The flurry of recent tariff changes for solar imports to the US is likely to make products from Southeast Asia less attractive to buyers, according to renewables analysis firm Clean Energy Associates (CEA).

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
May 29, 2024
11am (EDT) / 5pm (CEST)
Solar Media Events
June 4, 2024
London, UK
Upcoming Webinars
June 11, 2024
3:00 PM (BST) / 4:00 PM (CEST)
Solar Media Events
July 2, 2024
Athens, Greece