With less than 4 months to go, India is 39 GW away from its 2022 solar target

Back in 2015, the government of India (GoI) had set the target of achieving 100 gigawatt (GW) of grid-connected solar installation by 2022. The cumulative installed capacity of solar in India, as of FY2016, was 6.8 GW.[1] Fast-forward to August 31, 2022, the cumulative grid-connected solar power capacity of India stands at ~61 GW.[2] Now, with less than four months to the deadline of the solar target, India stares at an installation gap of ~39 GW.

The 100 GW target comprises of 40 GW for grid-connected rooftop and 60 GW for grid-connected utility-scale projects. The gap in terms of installed capacity for rooftop and utility-scale segments from their respective targets are 69% and 18%, as of August 2022. The underwhelming progress of rooftop solar installation can be attributed to low consumer awareness and inadequate supply-side infrastructure.

Nonetheless, with the two segments combined, the highest annual grid-connected solar capacity addition recorded was 11 GW in CY2021. A significant driver behind the boost in 2021 capacity addition was the huge pent-up demand, carried over from the previous year.

In the first 8 months of 2022, India added a total of 8 GW of grid-connected solar capacity. Further, as per JMK Research estimates, in the last 4 months of 2022, India is likely to add 7 GW of solar capacity. Thus, it is expected that the nation would reach a total grid-connected solar installation of 68 GW by 2022.

Figure: Grid-connected Solar Installation Trend & Forecast – India (2018 – 2022)

Note: Installation data includes both utility-scale and rooftop solar installation
Source: MNRE, JMK Research

In the short-term, extending the effective date of approved list of models and manufacturers (ALMM) by 6-12 months is imperative. This would help in revitalizing the highly-constrained corporate power purchase agreement (PPA) market including the open access and net metering segments. And albeit the 2022 solar target may not be fulfilled, it is necessary that, in the long-term, India bolster the growth and development of its solar market for enhancing its energy security and aatmanirbharta (self-reliance).

[1] MNRE, 3019 MW of Solar Energy Capacity Added in 2015-16, November 2016

[2] JMK Research