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India likely to miss year’s solar capacity target

Photo used for representation purpose only. File

Photo used for representation purpose only. File | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

India is likely to miss its 2022 target of installing 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar power capacity, largely due to inadequate uptake of rooftop solar, according to a report by JMK Research and the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

As of December 2021, India’s cumulative installed solar capacity was 55GW, with grid-connected utility-scale projects contributing 77% and the rest from grid-connected rooftop solar (20%) and mini or micro off-grid projects (3%).

With just eight months of 2022 remaining, only about 50% of the 100GW target, consisting of 60GW of utility-scale and 40GW of rooftop solar capacity, has been met.

Approximately 19 GW of solar capacity is expected to be added in 2022 — 15.8GW from utility-scale and 3.5GW from rooftop solar.

“Even with this capacity addition, about 27% of India’s 100GW solar target would be unmet,” Jyoti Gulia, Founder, JMK Research, and a co-author, said in a statement.

The analysis projects a 25GW shortfall in the 40GW rooftop solar target, compared to just 1.8GW in the utility-scale solar target by December 2022.

Call for concerted efforts

“Utility-scale solar capacity addition is on track. India is set to achieve nearly 97% of its 60GW target,” says Ms. Gulia. “This makes it imperative to have a more concerted effort towards expanding rooftop solar.”

Solar capacity is a major prong of India’s commitment to address global warming according to the terms of the Paris Agreement, as well as achieving net zero, or no net carbon emissions, by 2070.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the United Nations Conference of Parties meeting in Glasgow, in November 2021, said India would be reaching a non-fossil fuel energy capacity of 500 GW by 2030 and meet half its energy requirements via renewable energy by 2030. On the current trajectory, the report finds, India’s solar target of 300GW by 2030 will be off the mark by about 86GW, or nearly a third.

Impeding factors

Factors impeding rooftop solar installation include pandemic-induced supply chain disruption to policy restrictions, regulatory roadblocks; net metering limits; the twin burdens of basic customs duty (BCD) on imported cells and modules and issues with the Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM); unsigned power supply agreements (PSAs) and banking restrictions; financing issues plus delays in or rejection of open access approval grants; and the unpredictability of future open access charges.

“The anticipated 27GW shortfall from the 2022 solar target can be attributed to a string of challenges which are slowing overall progress on renewable energy targets,” says co-author Vibhuti Garg, Energy Economist and Lead India, IEEFA.

To get back on track, the report proposes “short and long-term measures. These include uniform policies to apply nationally for at least the next five years, consistent regulations for net metering and banking facilities, which should apply nationally, strictly enforcing renewable purchase obligations (RPO) of companies. “It is also likely that the government, in the short-term, will push aggressively for expediting solar capacity addition to achieve the 100GW target by 2022 by re-allocating some of the unmet rooftop target to utility-scale generation,” Ms. Gulia added.


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Printable version | Apr 12, 2022 8:31:08 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-likely-to-miss-years-solar-capacity-target/article65314829.ece