Three years ago, India made global news when the Finance Minister, in his Budget speech, set the country’s renewable energy target at 1,75,000 MW, to be achieved by 2022. Out of that the solar component was 1,00,000 MW, including 40,000 MW in the off-grid (mainly rooftop) category. Many suspected this ambitious target as incredulous because at that time the existing solar capacity was less than 4,000 MW or 4 GW. Three years later, the country is looking at an achievement of 20 GW, with nearly 10 GW having been added in past one year; i.e., 2017-18.
The progress in last year was nearly double of that achieved in the previous year (5.7 GW). More than the fast pace of capacity addition, the sharp decline in price of solar energy is jaw-dropping. From a near Rs 8 per kWh in 2012, and even higher earlier, the recent bids received from private solar developers have been as low as Rs 2.47/kWh. At this price, there is no challenge to solar power from any other source. In terms of affordability, it appears that India has found a solution to its energy poverty. Read More