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Big success! India has done remarkably in solar power capacity addition. Here’s how to take it to the next level

22 33 1319

When the National Solar Mission was launched in 2010, the target of 20,000MW of solar power by 2022 appeared too ambitious, as the country had only 160MW of solar power then. India announced its commitment to achieve 40% of its total generating capacity from renewables by 2030 for the Paris accord. Then, in 2015, the even more ambitious target of 100,000MW of solar power by 2022 was announced. These did not appear at all feasible.

A real breakthrough has, fortunately, occurred with capacity addition of solar power now growing exponentially—the growth rate in 2016-17 being slightly over 80%. The total solar power capacity is now already 20,000MW. What is remarkable is that this has been done through private investment and without large government subsidies. A competitive tariff-based bidding process every year for buying solar power from multiple firms through long-term contracts has been the instrument used by the Mission from the beginning. This created a competitive industry structure. Facilitated by the reduction in manufacturing costs globally of solar panels, the decline in tariffs has been amazing. Tariff in one recent bid came down to below `2.5 per unit, whereas that approved by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission for solar power was about `17 per unit when the Mission was launched.

While it would be only natural to have a sense of achievement, this success should also give the confidence to aim for new frontiers. The immediate requirement is to correct the distortion that India has 20,000MW........

© The Financial Express