World Bank plots India’s path to ambitious 20GW solar target

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The World Bank has talked up the potential of solar energy in India but warned that the country must make a number of changes if it is to hit its own ambitious deployment target of 20GW by 2022.

In a new report, the bank said falling costs had made solar a promising technology to improve the country’s access to energy and help it to reduce emissions without limiting economic growth.

“In a short span of three years, India has made impressive strides in developing its abundant solar power potential,” said Onno Ruhl, World Bank country director for India.

“With more than 300 million people without access to energy and industry citing energy shortage as key growth barrier in India, solar power has the potential to help the country address the shortage of power for economic growth,” he added.

“While India is clearly emerging as a global leader in the area of solar power, to achieve its target of adding 20,000MW of solar capacity by 2022, it needs to address the key barriers and constraints that could come in the way of scaling up the solar program,” Ruhl added.

The bank called on improved access to sources of private finance and a push to develop domestic manufacturing sector in parts of the solar supply chain where the country can compete globally.

It praised the solar parks model in place in Gujarat and called for similar parks to be developed in other states. The model approves large areas of land for solar farms with grid connections and other infrastructure in place removing a number of hurdles for developers.

India has commissioned around 2GW of solar power through a series of lowest-cost-wins auctions with the winning tariffs, as low as US$0.12kWh the cheapest in the world, according to the World Bank.

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