With the government facing criticism over unfulfilled promises and unmet targets, the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has been asked to bring tenders of 1000 MW each in the months from November to February for new capacity edition. The proposal to add around 4000 MW — to the already installed 25000 MW solar capacity — is not likely to expedite the process of meeting the central government’s target of one lakh MW of solar capacity by 2022.
The proposal that SECI may bring tenders of 1000 MW each in the months from November to February has come with an assumption that code of conduct for the next general election will be enforced in March 2019. The solar capacity that is likely to be commissioned during 2019-20 is 4740 MW whereas solar capacity that is expected to be commissioned during this financial year is 4165 MW.
In 2015, the then Union power minister, Piyush Goyal, had announced that the centre has set a target of having 175 GW renewable power installed capacity by the end of 2022. This includes 60 GW from wind power, 100 GW from solar power, 10 GW from biomass power and 5 GW from small hydro power.
In 2010-11, India had installed a solar power capacity of just 1030 MW (1 GW is equal to 1000 MW). The solar capacity has risen exponentially to 15,605 MW as on October 31, 2017. According to estimates of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, India has installed a solar power capacity of 22GW by March 31, 2018. Also, as the capacity has increased, the per unit rate has decreased simultaneously. In 2010-11, the lowest tariff of the solar power was Rs 17.91 per unit. The lowest tariff at which a solar power project was bid in 2017-18 was Rs 2.44 per unit. According to a report published in July by CRISIL Research, solar power capacity is likely to ramp up to 56-58 GW between fiscals 2019 and 2023, compared with 20 GW between fiscals 2014 and 2018.
“The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has also started tendering and allocation under the Inter-State Transmission System (ISTS) scheme, wherein projects are planned for connections with the ISTS grid directly. Under this, the SECI has already allocated 5 GW and has another 3 GW in the tendering phase. Besides, the government has also announced a 2.5 GW solar-wind hybrid scheme to facilitate higher utilisation of resources and 10 GW of manufacturing capacity-linked projects,” the report stated.