India Solar Map 2015

India’s solar PV projects pipeline exceeds 12 GW.

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While the large solar policy allocations take all the limelight, there are very interesting niche markets developing in India. These markets are typically driven by favourable end-user economics and require less government support. Depending on the quality of the local grid, on the policy support and availability of on-site space, end consumer could go for open access or rooftop solar solution. Rooftop solar is slightly more expensive but it has no grid risk exposure and sizes are constrained by rooftop availability, where as open access is more scalable and cheaper option but comes with the risk of unpredictable grid usage costs.

While open access market is still in an early stage, buying solar from such projects is an increasingly attractive option for India’s power consumers.

  • India’s first open access solar projects have broken the regulatory ice
  • These projects can thrive where power tariffs are high, the grid is robust and regulations are favourable
  • Open access project returns will likely remain at risk from unpredictable grid usage costs


India has made tremendous strides in the development of its solar sector in last 18 months. As of today, the country has a solar project pipeline of 13 GW. These are projects, for which either PPAs have already been signed or tenders are issued. Most of these projects should be commissioned by the end of 2016 or early 2017.

  • Southern states are most ambitious and drive solar under their own state solar policies. Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka jointly aim for more than 8.8 GW.
  • Under central allocations (National Solar Mission, Phase II), 3,600 MW are in the pipeline.
  • 2016 will be the market’s transition year: annual solar installations could triple and India could become a top global solar market.


The recent National Solar Mission (NSM) tenders have been delayed multiple times before and are again delayed now. This pattern of delays is not new.

  • Only one of the 30 odd bids in India has gone through without significant extensions or delays
  • Main culprits are process delays by implementation agencies and requests for time extension from developers – these delays affect sector development as many players, particularly the new entrants are not conditioned to respond to the way business is carried out in India
  • MNRE should play a key role in streamlining the somewhat disorganized tender process so as to improve the ‘ease of doing business’


The process to substantially alter India’s future energy mix seems to have begun. This is very good news for renewables. Prime Minister Narendra Modi re-iterated India’s current target of installing 175 GW of renewables by 2022 at the United Nations General Assembly last week. This would then be equivalent to almost 20% of India’s power generation. Over and above this, and in the context of India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) for the climate negotiations in Paris, the target could be raised to a stunning 250 GW of solar and 100 GW of wind power capacity by 2030, which when added to other renewables would be equivalent to nearly 40% of power from renewables by 2030 (refer).

  • Successfully implementing such targets would mean decades of growth for the solar sector
  • The underlying premise of these ambitions is the belief that storage and smart grid technology will become economical and ready for implementation over the next five years
  • India needs to start thinking about storage technology for large scale integration of renewables and possibly even using storage to leapfrog grid investments for rural electrification


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