With the global concerns of energy security rounding up, the role of renewable energy has gained significant prominence in the recent times especially solar. For a country like India, given proximity to equator there lies an enormous capability of producing 5000 trillion kilowatts of clean energy from sun. And if this energy is harnessed efficiently, it can be helpful in filling up the energy demand-supply gap in the country. Solar Power which became the part of grid interactive RES breakup in year 2000 contributing merely 4MW, has reached a record level of 1.7 GW as of May 2013. Courtesy the major initiatives taken by GOI like Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, introduction of RPO’s and REC mechanism there has been increased the participation level of states in harnessing much of the solar potential in the country. However owing to diverse climatic conditions, topographic features there has been a discrepancy in solar radiation intensity as per the different regions in the country.
The fact that a high potential is not enough for achieving the greater degree of solar installations persist as factors like good economic status, strong technological back up also effect the solar installation across the different states in India (Refer Exhibit 01). As evident the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan have shown maximum elevated capacity in the last two years.
In 2011, Gujarat Energy Development Agency generated total solar capacity of nearly 587MW which increased to 709.5MW in 2012. On the other hand Rajasthan showed a capacity growth from 147 MW in 2011 to 198.7 MW in 2012. While in Maharashtra the energy conservation committee prepared a strategic plan for encouraging more solar capacity installations. The solar capacity recorded for Maharashtra in year 2011 was merely 10-12 MW, inclined to 20 MW in year 2012 and has now reached 100MW (as of March 2013). Further a solar power plant of capacity 28.8 MW is likely to be commissioned in 2013-14 in the state. Apart from these the states like Punjab, Haryana, West Bengal, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Odisha have the least capacity comparatively to rest of the states. All these states have total solar installations of less than 10 MW.
As per enincon’s analysis apart from solar potential the key factors leading to differences in the capacity installations are availability of land, economic status of the state and policy and regulatory environment of the state (Refer Exhibit 02) and owing to the factors, the states are classified into different categories.
In addition, it should be noticed that having high solar potential is not sufficient for achieving greater degree of solar installations. The states must meet some other criterion also, which will give prolific results as far as installed capacity is concerned. The reason behind states like Gujarat to have elevated solar capacity is early initiatives taken by the state, which accommodated soaring capacity growth of the solar segment. Among all the above listed states, Gujarat is the first one to draft a solar policy in 2009. Since then the solar development gathered momentum. In terms of economic growth, it is among the most preferred states of the country, which are highly developed. As per the estimates, the total GSDP growth of the state in year 2011 was 10.2%, which inclined to a growth rate of nearly 14% in the last fiscal. Hence having strong technological enlargement in the solar segment is one of the domino effect on pace of development in the state.
On the contrary to this the states like Delhi, West Bengal etc. falls into the category of extremely low capacity due to the fact that these have very weak technological support along with fewer initiatives taken by state in terms of providing policy support to the solar segment. Although having average economic status and available solar potential. The factor, which most likely affects the solar capacity generations in the state, is the initiatives taken by the government in the segment. Henceforth it occupies the maximum weight age of 52%. Next to it the factor which greatly influence the solar capacity is the technological advancement made in the segment by the state. Since in India barring the northeastern and other high altitude states almost every region receives a fine amount of solar radiations, therefore it is given the least weightage i.e. of 10%. Thus as per enincon’s analysis the most likely hotspots for solar power in India are:
- Andhra Pradesh
- Madhya Pradesh
- Tamil Nadu
- Uttar Pradesh
Parametric Evaluation and Ranking of most likely hotspots for Solar Power in India
To be the best state for solar power generation in India states need to qualify on the parameters like Solar Intensity, Upcoming Capacity, tariff realization, power off takers and regulatory and policy framework overall ranks are assessed for the states (Refer Exhibit 03 & 04)
In India at large all the major states have identified potential of solar energy while only a few are harnessing this potential with conducive policy framework, tariff realisation in form of upcoming planned capacity additions courtesy the JNNSM scheme. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission which was established with an objective to make India as a global leader in solar energy by creating the policy conditions for its large-scale diffusion across the country as quickly as possible. So to embark this vision it becomes imperative to focus on setting up an enabling environment for solar technology penetration both at centralized and the state level. While the installed capacity of solar power of 1745 MW (as of May 2013) is having an ambitious target of 10,000 MW by 2017 participation of states to go solar in impending. As per enincon’s analysis the likely hotspot states for solar power in India are likely to witness a capacity addition of 3242 MW by 2017 leaving a gap of 6758 MW to be developed in compendium with other states. However whether this interim gap in capacity addition targets is achieved or not can only be answered in the due course of time.