Government sets solar power on fast track; asks state-run firm to float 4,000 MW tenders in 4 months

The government is set its ambitious solar power capacity addition plan on fast wheels, asking the state-run Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to raise tenders to install 4,000 MW of solar power capacity in just four months to February 2019. In turn SECI has to raise 1,000MW tenders every month from November 2018 to February 2019, in order to accelerate the process of capacity addition in the middle of criticism over unmet targets, reported Indian Express.

The proposal to add 4,000MW of solar capacity is, however, unlikely to help in meeting the governments target of 1 Lakh MW of solar capacity by 2022 The Indian Express report said. India has already installed solar energy capacity of 25,000 MW.

The move comes with an assumption that the code of conduct for the next generation election will be enforced in March next year. The solar capacity that is expected to be commissioned in the current financial year is 4,165 MW, while the total of 4,740 of solar capacity is likely to be commissioned during the next financial year 2019-20, the newspaper said.

The power minister of 2015, Mr.Piyush Goyal had said that the government has a target of having 175 GW of renewable energy capacity, comprising 100 GW of solar power, 60 GW of wind power, 10 GW of biomass power and 5 GW of small hydropower, by the end of 2022. One GW equals 1000 MW.

During the financial year 2010-11, a solar capacity of 1030 MW was installed and by October 31, 2017, it was raised to 15,605 MW. By March 31, 2018, India has installed the solar capacity of 22 GW, according to Ministry of Renewable Energy estimation.

As the capacity has risen, the per unit rate has decreased. In the financial year 2010-11, the lowest tariff of solar power reported was Rs.17.91 per unit. Whereas the lowest tariff at which solar project was bid in the last financial year ended on March 2018 was at Rs 2.44 per unit.

Between the financial year 2019 and 2023, the solar power capacity is likely to go up to 56-58 GW as against 20 GW between the financial year 2014-2018,” showed a report published in July by CRISIL.