With less than four months to the deadline of the 2022 renewable capacity addition target, India stares at an installation gap of about 59 GW, in which the solar segment alone accounts for about 39 GW.
In 2015, the Indian government had set an ambitious capacity addition target of 175 GW (excluding the large hydro category) to be achieved by the end of 2022 by the renewable energy sector. The capacity addition to be achieved by the solar segment was pegged at 100 GW, while the wind power segment was expected to have a total capacity of 60 GW. Targets fixed for biomass power and small hydro sector were 10 GW and 5 GW respectively.
In 2015, the solar segment had an installed capacity of about 4 GW. However, the segment started adding new capacity at a faster pace supported by several favourable factors. Wind also maintained its momentum, but it started reporting a slowdown in capacity addition since the advent of the auction regime in 2017. Last year, the solar segment had overtaken wind in overall capacity.
As of August 2022, the total grid-connected capacity of renewables stood at 116 GW. The solar segment’s capacity stood at 59.3, while wind power had installed a total capacity of 41.2 GW. Biopower and small hydro segments’ capacity stood at 10.2 GW and 4.9 GW.
“The 100 GW target for solar power segment comprises 40 GW for grid-connected rooftop and 60 GW for grid-connected utility-scale projects. The gap in terms of installed capacity for rooftop and utility-scale segments from their respective targets are 69% and 18% respectively, as of August 2022. The underwhelming progress of rooftop solar installation can be attributed to low consumer awareness and inadequate supply-side infrastructure, said a report by JMK Research.
Thus, the rooftop category will account for the bulk of the shortfall. Both utility-scale and rooftop segments together added the highest annual new capacity of 11 GW in 2021. A significant driver behind the boost in 2021 capacity addition was the huge pent-up demand, carried over from the previous year.
In the first 8 months of 2022, the solar segment added 8 GW of new capacity. Based on the recent months’ trends, this segment is expected to add another 7 GW of capacity in the remaining months of this calendar year, leaving a shortfall of about 32 GW in the capacity target.
“In the short term, extending the effective date of the approved list of models and manufacturers (ALMM) by 6-12 months is imperative. This would help in revitalising the highly-constrained corporate power purchase agreement (PPA) market including the open access and net metering segments,” said the report.