India to fall short of its solar capacity target for 2022 by 27%: JMK Research & IEEFA

India is expected to fall “well short” of its target for 2022 of having 100 gigawatts (GW) of installed solar capacity, largely due to slow uptake of rooftop solar, said a new report by JMK Research and the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

As on December 2021, India’s cumulative installed solar capacity was 55GW, with grid-connected utility-scale projects contributing 77 per cent and the balance coming from grid-connected rooftop solar (20 per cent) and mini or micro off-grid projects (3 per cent).

With just eight months of 2022 remaining, only about 50 per cent of the 100GW target, consisting of 60GW of utility-scale and 40GW of rooftop solar capacity, has been met.

Roughly about 19GW of solar capacity is expected to be added in 2022. 15.8GW from utility-scale and 3.5GW from rooftop solar. “Even with this capacity addition, about 27 percent of India’s 100GW solar target would be unmet,” says report co-author Jyoti Gulia, founder, JMK Research.

According to the report, by December 2022 there will be a 25GW shortfall in the 40GW rooftop solar target, compared to just 1.8GW in the utility-scale solar target.

“Utility-scale solar capacity addition is on track. India is set to achieve nearly 97 per cent of its 60GW target. This makes it imperative to have a more concerted effort towards expanding rooftop solar,” says Gulia.

Headwinds ranging from pandemic-induced supply chain disruption to deep rooted policy restrictions have impeded the growth of India’s rooftop solar (onsite solar power) and open access solar (offsite solar) installations.

“The anticipated 27GW shortfall from the 2022 solar target can be attributed to a string of challenges which are slowing overall progress on renewable energy targets,” says co-author Vibhuti Garg, energy economist and lead India, IEEFA.

On the current trajectory, the report finds India’s solar target of 300GW by 2030 will be off the mark by about 86GW. The challenges here include: regulatory roadblocks; net metering limits; the twin burdens of basic customs duty (BCD) on imported cells and modules and issues with the Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM); unsigned power supply agreements and banking restrictions; financing issues plus delays in or rejection of open access approval grants; and the unpredictability of future open access charges.

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