As we know that our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi makes too many audacious promises on behalf of his government. In 2015, Arun Jaitley made one of the boldest statements yet. He assured the people that India would build 100GW solar power by the year 2022; this is a part of a proposed 175GW of renewable power that includes wind, biomass and hydroelectricity.
It has been two years since the statement and people are quite skeptic if Modi Ji will be able to stick to his plan. Arunabha Ghosh, Chief Executive of New Delhi-based Council on Energy, said “The target is certainly achievable although I’m not sure it will be done by 2022. It is more likely to happen a couple of years after that.”
India had installed a 34GW renewable power at the time when the announcement was made in 2015. In order to catch up with the deadline India has to add 20GW each year that is equivalent to four of world’s largest coal power plants.
$160bn is required for funding in order to keep up, that is four times the year’s defense budget. Not even a single time the industry has been lagging behind the required pace. At the end of August, India had installed 60.8GW of total renewable capacity that is 70 percent of the amount needed for project.
Chinese-made solar panels have set a string of record low bids for new solar parks in India. These are one of the signs that India can yet catch the required speed. Mr Ghosh advocates the fact that the prices of equipment has fallen at a fast pace, and the demand is high for developing solar parks as many companies have been allocated lands for that purpose.
There are also assertions that the low prices may even collapse the confidence of Indian banks and many companies may struggle with bad debt. This may happen only if companies fail to provide energy at the rates which they have promised to deliver.
Another problem is that the price of solar panels was expected to drop by 30 cents per watt to 25 but rather they have got a raise of about 35 cents per watt. Moreover, as a consequence of low bids being hot; many states that have allocated lands to companies are renegotiating the deal. This slows the demand for future projects.
The most significant hurdle is the relative lack of growth in both Wind Power and Rooftop Solar Energy. Out of the 100GW that government plans to deliver, 40 GW is expected to be harnessed from Rooftop Solar Panels. While currently only 0.7GW energy comes from this source. This makes scaling the project a big problem.
Despite all these hurdles and drawbacks, analysts say that a long-term price drop in Solar Panels and consistent demand to build solar parks will allow India to hit the 175GW target, even if not at the same pace as envisioned by the government.
“We are probably a year off the 2022 target,” Mr Buckley says. “But India will get there.”