31 July 2015


Two small Indian states harbour big PV ambitions

Author: Jason Deign, Solarplaza

The two states formed from former Andhra Pradesh look set to become locked in a battle for Indian solar supremacy after launching ambitious PV targets.

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the eighth and twelfth-largest states of India, respectively, are planning to install 2.85 GW of solar PV between them.

Andhra Pradesh’s 850 MW share of the total will come from two allocations under India’s National Solar Mission, said Jasmeet Khurana, senior manager at the analyst firm Bridge to India and a speaker at the upcoming Solar Project Development & Finance Tour India.

The first bid is for 10 projects of 50 MW each, while the second is for a single 350 MW project. “Both the bids are expected to be submitted in August 2015,” said Khurana.

But it is in Telangana, which was split administratively from Andhra Pradesh in June 2014, that the real solar action is taking place.

The state has released a tender for 2 GW of solar power, which Khurana says has attracted bids for a total capacity of almost 5 GW, from 101 developers. These bids were due to be opened in early August.

“Both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are expected to be India’s leading states for solar going forward,” Khurana said.

The almost 3 GW of power being sought by the states is small in comparison to India’s much publicised target of 100 GW by 2022. But it is practically on a par with the total capacity installed across the whole country in 2014.

And both states are aiming for 5 GW of solar apiece by 2019, according to figures from Bridge to India’s India Solar Handbook 2015.

This puts them in the top league of state-level targets in India, behind Rajasthan, which has a policy objective of 25 GW and is the current leader in installations and investments, and Maharashtra, which is gunning for 7.5 GW by 2019.

There are also signs that achieving the solar targets in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana could be easier than in some of India’s earlier PV programmes.

The states have global horizontal irradiation rates in excess of around 2,050 kWh/m2 a year, higher than many regions to the east and south.  

Plus “they are putting together big solar sites and asking companies to bid within them,” said Josefin Berg, senior analyst for solar demand at IHS Technology. “It adds up to a couple of gigawatts of sites.”

The states could be keen to promote PV because in many parts of India “it is easier to develop solar than wind,” she said.

Solar resource is more abundant than wind across most of India, according to Bloomberg. It is also quicker and easier to install, and has a more predictable output. Furthermore, an earlier problem of unrealistically low solar project development bids appears to have been resolved.

“Prices are going down,” said Berg. “A few years ago they were low, but too low. Now they are low, but reasonable.”

Jasmeet Khurana and Shri K. Chandrashekhar Rao, Chief Minister of Telangana, are expected to be among the presenters at the Solar Project Development & Finance Tour India taking place in New Delhi and Hyderabad, from October 5 to 9.

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