India hits 3.38GW of PV despite missed annual target

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India now has around 3.38GW of grid-connected solar installed, according to official figures revealed this week by the country’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).

The country has made significant strides in clean energy over the past few years. PV Tech reported almost exactly two years ago that the cumulative installed capacity of solar in India was less than half of what it is today when it stood at 1.4GW in March 2013.

The government of Narendra Modi, which came into power in May last year set the bar even higher, with the country now having in place a “100GW of solar by 2022” target.

The latest figures show that cumulative installed capacity of “grid interactive” solar as of the end of February 2015 stood at 3,382.78MW. Of renewable or low carbon energy sources, solar therefore came third behind wind power, of which 22,644.63MW was installed, and small hydropower, cumulative installed capacity of which stood at 4,025MW.

However, despite the obvious increase, targets were missed to varying degrees in every category of renewable energy capacity increase during the 2014 to 2015 financial year. In solar, a target of 1.1GW was missed, with 750.77MW deployed instead. Meanwhile no biomass power and gasification facilities were added, despite a modest target of 100MW being in place for the year and even wind power, of which 1512.80MW was added, fell short of a 2GW target.

The cumulative capacity confirmation broadly backs up a November 2014 update from analysis group Mercom Capital, which said the 3GW mark had been surpassed. At the time, Mercom predicted that the country would install 800MW of solar for 2014, a 20% year-on-year drop from the previous year’s 1GW achievement.

At the time, Mercom Capital chief executive Raj Prabhu said that 2015 was likely to be a year of greater growth for PV, with stimulus coming from policy support, the end of an anti-dumping dispute and punitive levies imposed on coal use, among other factors. Then, Dr Rahul Walawalkar of the India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) wrote in a guest blog for PV Tech Storage of his optimism for India’s “decade of energy infrastructure transformation”, with the effects also expected to be felt keenly in the rural electrification and energy storage sectors.

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