India installed a record 10 gigawatts (GW) of solar electricity capacity in 2017-2018, twice the rate logged in the previous year and nearly double the country’s entire solar base, the US-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis said.
The gains put India at 22 GW of total cumulative capacity and the trend is continuing.
Cost deflation is likely to remain a medium-term trend as economies of scale are achieved, spurred in part by India’s development of the world’ largest solar project, the 2.2-GW Bhadla project in Rajasthan that is set to come online in 2019.
The 10 GW of solar installed in 2017-18 represents most of the 12.1 GW of new renewable capacity commissioned over the past 12 months. Renewables now account for 20 per cent of total installed capacity in India and 7.7 per cent of electricity generation.
While the surge in new renewable generation has increased concerns about grid constraints, the right level of ongoing investment will make those issues manageable even as renewable energy installs double to more than 20 GW annually by 2020.
Tying new solar tenders to domestic manufacturing investment aligns both strategies, with the likely outcome that the world’s leading solar module manufacturers will set up operations in India, bringing employment opportunities and, more important, world-leading solar technology at scale.