• Five Indian states have crossed 1 GW of large scale solar power installations, according to Mercom Capital
  • The GW-size solar states are Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
  • Tamil Nadu has the highest amount of utility scale solar power installed with 1,577 MW
  • Karnataka has the largest pipeline of 3,376 MW
  • Developers still fear grid curtailment issues and want MNRE to become more active when discussions come up with state nodal agenices

A total of five Indian states have crossed 1 GW of installed utility scale solar power capacity. The southern state of Tamil Nadu has installed the highest operational large-scale capacity with 1,577 MW, with another 485 MW under development.

The other 4 states of the Top 5 are Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. As of December 2016, Rajasthan stands second in the list with total installations of 1,324 MW and another 1,205 MW under development. The latest installation figures from Mercom Capital Group place Gujarat on the third spot with 1,100 MW of installed utility scale capacity and 300 MW under development.

Andhra Pradesh has installed 1,009 MW and Telangana reached 1,006 MW of installed utility-scale capacity. While Andhra Pradesh has 1,494 MW in the pipeline, for Telangana this figure stands at a whopping 2,418 MW.

But it is the state of Karnataka that has the most massive solar power pipeline of 3,376 MW.

Top 10 states account for around 90% of all solar installations and pipeline in India. According to Mercom, along with the above mentioned states, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have been the key stakeholders in India’s solar boom

At the start of December, India’s total installed large scale solar capacity has reached 9,018 MW with a solar pipeline of 14,030 MW. In October, at the Intersolar India conference in Mumbai, Bridge to India said India’s YTD installed solar power capacity stood at 9.4 GW, while the Indian government had announced that on October 31, 2016 the number was 8,727.61 MW (see India Adds 14.3 GW Renewables).

Issues facing developers
With over 11 GW of solar power capacity expected to be commissioned in the current fiscal year of 2016-17, project developers in India fear grid curtailment from power distribution companies (discoms). Almost every state discom is reluctant to buy solar power as it is costlier than subsidized conventional energy. But the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has sternly asked for ‘must run’ status to be accorded to solar power (see MNRE Backing Solar).

Power distribution and transmission issues abound in some states, while in others it is the issue of land availability and grid connectivity that can hurt the prospects of solar power. Mercom says that developers want MNRE to be more involved in issues on solar projects between developers and state nodal agencies (SNA).

The states on their part are trying to address these issues. Andhra Pradesh, for instance, is setting up a transmission network planned to be operational by February 2017. Rajasthan is trying to fast track a competitive bidding process, Telangana is upgrading its grid to be able to distribute all solar power generated.