• Karnataka has exceeded a cumulative installed solar power capacity of 5 GW, according to Mercom India Research
  • It is at the top of the list, with 8 states in total commanding more than 1 GW of solar power capacity installed as of Q1/2018
  • The state already managed to surpass its 2017 annual installation figure of 2 GW during the first quarter, and also replaced Telangana as the No. 1 solar state

The southern Indian state of Karnataka has become the first state to have over 5 GW of cumulative installed solar PV capacity, according to Mercom India’s Solar Project Tracker. As of Q1/2018, Karnataka is at the top of the list of 8 Indian states that have installed more than 1 GW of solar capacity.

In 2017 alone, Karnataka installed more than 2 GW of solar PV. However, Mercom points out that the state already matched that annual total in the first 3 months of 2018 alone. It has also replaced Telangana as the No. 1 solar state. Until last year, Telangana was on top having achieved over 3 GW of cumulative solar power capacity in 2017.

One reason for Karnataka’s success in solar is that it has been making efforts to ease the process of PV project development, emphasized Mercom. In recent tenders, it has opted for ‘taluk’ or sub-district allocation of projects in order to address the issue of land availability. The state recently announced the winners of 760 MW, which was to be developed across 43 taluks (see Karnataka Awards 760 MW PV).

“Karnataka has done a commendable job so far in becoming the state with most solar installations,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group. “The big question is what happens in Karnataka after the 1 GW of projects remaining in its development pipeline get completed. If power demand remains weak and solar power becomes more expensive due to tariff imposition, future activity is likely to be less robust,” he added.

Nonetheless, until March 2018, Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd.’s (KREDL) website shows that the commissioned solar power capacity of the state was 4,835.56 MW. The allotted capacity on the other hand totalled 8,561.48 MW.

According to Mercom, Karnataka is followed by Telangana with more than 3 GW, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh with over 2 GW of PV each. Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra are all above 1 GW.