4.8GW utility-scale solar to be installed in 2016

According to the latest market update, nearly 4.8 gigawatts of utility-scale solar capacity will be installed in India, in 2016, up 140% from 2GW in 2015, .

Most of the new utility-scale solar projects will be installed in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka, contributing nearly 80% of all new capacity additions.

The utility-scale market is also on track to meet its targets for the next financial year, mainly due to a strong pipeline of state-level projects set to be commissioned through the year.

A significant amount of utility-scale solar capacity from government allocations is also expected in the first quarter of 2017. The burst of government allocations in early 2017 is due to delays in new allocations from state-owned companies National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI).

This means most capacity under the National Solar Mission (NSM) will only get commissioned within the first half of 2017. In any case, this may assist the government in reaching its target of 7.8GW for utility-scale projects for 2016/17. The annual capacity is also expected to be increased to 10GW in 2017/18.

But, this momentum may not keep its pace once the government allocations dry up and states become responsible for utility-scale solar growth.

Evacuation of power and grid stability were cited as key bottlenecks in the future, and therefore the speed of implementing the country’s green energy corridors between states would be critical.

India installed 2GW in 2015, less than the market’s projected number, due to delays in projects in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Punjab.

The 2GW commissioned in 2015 were comprised of:

  • 700MW under central government allocations
  • 850MW under state allocations
  • 450MW under other heads, including private initiatives
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