India is forecast to enter the top five countries for solar capacity this year, moving up from tenth place last year, according to consultancy firm Bridge to India’s annual report.

The firm’s ‘India Solar handbook 2015', launched at Intersolar Europe in Munich, states that India could see almost 3GW additional capacity by the end of the year, a 250% growth on the previous year.

India’s total installed capacity has now reached 4.1GW, having added on average 1GW extra capacity annually over the last three years. Furthermore, in the first four months of this year alone, India has already commissioned 1GW.

Around 55GW of solar is expected to be added globally this year with China forecast to add 14GW and to overtake Germany in terms of cumulative installed capacity.

Meanwhile India is likely to become one of the largest solar markets globally in the next three years and is already on track to add more solar capacity than Germany for the year 2015.

Tobias Engelmeier, founder and director Bridge to India, said: “India will be one of the most exciting markets globally this year and the long-term potential is enormous.”

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s budget in February confirmed the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s (MNRE) target of deploying 100GW of solar energy in India by 2022.

The 100GW target is split between 40GW of utility-scale projects, 40GW rooftop, and 20GW has been earmarked for an entrepreneurship scheme where unemployed youths and farmers are given a grant from the central government to help fund 1MW plants.

A PV Tech analysis this week ‘100GW by 2022: Behind India’s big solar numbers’ looks in detail at the roadmap to this target and the various barriers and policy issues that stand in the way.

Bridge to India’s report said that both Central and State governments have announced a number of schemes and policies to accelerate solar project development.

The central government’s National Solar Mission accounts for 15GW of projects by 2019. It has also put forward a policy to build multiple mega solar parks and is working with KfW, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank on an interest rate subvention scheme.

The most ambitious targets set by states include:

  • Maharashtra 7.5GW
  • Andhra Pradesh 5GW
  • Telangana 5GW
  • Tamil Nadu 3GW
  • Karnataka 2GW

Rajasthan now has the highest amount of installed capacity ahead of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, which Bridge to India has singled out as having the potential to be the country’s biggest solar state.

India is expected to add 24GW of utility scale solar PV capacity between 2015 and 2019. Out of this, 7.6GW is expected to come from central government schemes, 11GW from state government schemes and the remaining 5.5GW from other projects.

Engelmeier added: “In spite of remaining challenges, the outlook for the solar sector in India is very positive. It is driven by powerful underlying fundamentals such as the rising cost of conventional power, environmental concerns, falling cost of solar power, high solar irradiation, a high power deficit and the ability of solar to quickly bring power generation capacity online. These fundamentals coupled with several state and central government initiatives should result in India becoming a very important global market.”

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