Right smack in the middle of the worst electricity blackouts the country has experienced in over a decade, India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy had an exciting announcement: as of the end of June, over 1 GW of solar photovoltaic (PV) power was installed in the country.
This is impressive considering that the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Council on Energy, Environment and Water in New Delhi released a report earlier in 2012, stating that India had only about 507 MW of solar installed.
That means that India’s solar capacity has doubled in just about two months, an amazing feat. The original plan for 2012 was for 800 MW total to come online, meaning that the country exceeded expectations only half-way through the year.
The National Solar Mission, India’s solar initiative, has set a goal of installing 20 GW of solar capacity by 2020. These efforts have lead to decreasing solar prices within the country, so much so that experts say solar could reach price parity with coal, the country’s primary energy source, in the next four years.
India is plagued by frequent power outages that threaten its economic growth but are seen as an opportunity by renewable energy (particularly solar) proponents. Government-based group Coal India supplies the county with two-thirds of its power source, but reports blame the gap between supply and demand (about 10%) on corruption, weak policies and mismanagement within the agency.