Solar industry in India is growing at an incredible rate. From current solar capacity (13 GW) to aggressive pipeline (14 GW under construction and 6 GW to be auctioned), and Government policies to make green energy a mainstream energy source is impressive, inspiring even. The industry growth is supposed to realize the vision of ‘energy reliance’, which is one of the few reasons behind India’s solar revolution. However, lack of quality inspection mechanisms (till now) and influx of imported modules have introduced the question of long term performance of the solar projects.
India has shown a remarkable performance in the growth of the solar sector and has received global acclamation in the same. Be it setting up of the International Solar Alliance with France or playing a pivotal role during the negotiations at COP 21 at Paris, the Indian government is leading the global fight against climate change. India had taken a very calculated decision to increase the share of renewable energy in its electricity mix. Under the National Action Plan for Climate Change, a target of 20 GW of solar installations was announced in the year 2010 which was later revamped to 100 GW of solar and 75GW of other renewable energy sources by the year 2022. From less than 10 MW by the FY 2010, the country has seen an impressive growth to achieve a cumulative growth of 10 GW by the FY 2017.
India’s involvement in renewable energy revolution has brought the country huge applaud in the global podium. The country has practically ignored the short comings of limited industrial infrastructure and surprisingly closing in to become the third largest solar market in the world (derailing Japan). India growing from 5 GW of solar capacity in 2015 to 12 GW in 2017 is a leap that only handful of developed countries have shown in solar sector. Indian rooftop solar is also gearing up to take lead in the global industry showing incredible growth from 72 MW per year to 227 per year. It is important to mention that Indian rooftop solar capacity has crossed 1 GW milestone, indicating near about 113 per cent growth in 2016 over 2015.
The rising tide of growth that Indian solar sector resembles has promised to shift the weight of poverty, unemployment and social-cultural asymmetrical growth from India’s shoulder, willing an energy rich future into reality. Quite decisively, Indian Government has devised plans for leveraging this opportunity.
India has made a quantum leap reaching approximately 9 GW in 2016 from a meagre 10 MW in 2010. Government departments and private players working in unison has helped in scaling such an achievement. However, intense competition has led to tariff wars, resulting in very low tariff rates. This trend dates back to December 2011 when a foreign company bid Rs. 7.49 for projects under NSM. 6 years later we are standing at Rs. 3.64 bid for 750 MW (250 MWx3) solar project in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh. Although, low solar energy tariff firms up the hope of reaching countrywide solar grid parity with conventional energy, bidders are finding it tough to get funding. Banks and private lenders are inching away from financing solar projects in India due to lower tariffs, seeing it as a cost risk. To explain the situation in a single sentence, we can say that low tariff rates in the solar industry are introducing high cost financing issues to the developers and industry players.