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Solar industry needs broader geographical focus

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The solar potential of India is visible to everyone. While the energy resource is available across the country but till date, developments witnessed have been geographically narrow. The focus of the two initial drivers of photovoltaics in the country are Gujarat Solar Policy and the National Solar Mission. But almost 87 per cent of India’s total installed set-up is covered in two states,i.e. 68 per cent or 709 MW in Gujarat; and 19 per cent or 195 MW in Rajasthan as per latest Bridge to India report.

The overall concept of relying on these twin drivers has resulted in chaos as when either stalls, the entire photovoltaic industry comes to a grinding halt. This lull has been primarily because of the Rooftop Photovoltaic and Small Solar Power Generation Programme’s (RPSSGP) failure to make itself count.

Even the switch to use of renewable energy certificates (RECs) has failed to sustain on its initial promise, mainly due to the combination of a lack of long-term price predictability for the RECs and a lack of enforcement of renewable purchase obligations (RPOs) in some states. However, the report states that demand for RECs outstrips supply and the race to grid parity in several states will help further lift demand for solar.

The current plight of the solar market across the country is highlighted by the report’s table of best and worst performing states. While Gujarat and Rajasthan are top ranked, which comes as no surprise but Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Goa and the Union Territories are mentioned as regions without any state solar policy and solar developments.

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