India to double large-scale solar target to 40 GW by 2020

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Secretary of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy confirms new generation target of 40,000 MW of solar park capacity likely to be signed off by PM Modi as India seeks buffer to SunEdison-type dangers.

Solar

By Baishakhi Dutta

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India will seek to double its already-ambitious 2020 target for large-scale solar as it attempts to plug a shortfall in rooftop demand and salve the wounds caused by SunEdison’s recent bankruptcy.

The secretary of India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Upendra Tripathy, opined that the MNRE has set a new generation target of 40 GW of large-scale solar PV capacity by 2020, up from 20 GW, as the country explores all avenues on the path towards its wider 100 GW of solar by 2022 goal.

Bankrupt U.S. clean energy developer SunEdison has inadvertently triggered this acceleration in ambition. SunEdison’s aggressive entry into the Indian large-scale solar market saw it win a 500 MW solar project in Andhra Pradesh at a record low tariff of INR 4.63/kWh last November.

According to the MNRE, to reach India’s solar ambitions the country has to attract as much as $90 billion in investment. A few weeks ago the World Bank provided $1 billion in loans to the country’s National Solar Mission (JNNSM), while It was reported that imports of solar PV cells and modules into India had multiplied by more than three times over the course of a year, reaching $2.3 billion in 2015-2016.

In the distributed generation segment, India’s previous target was for a cumulative capacity of 40 GW of rooftop solar by 2022, but reams of regulatory red-tape continue to inhibit this sector’s growth.

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