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India's solar mission a hit or a miss? Experts discuss

Updated : May 09, 2019 11:41 PM IST

The one thing that the Modi government successfully did was to set big targets and all of those have been celebrated, especially the ambitious and critical goal of India's solar power at 100 gigawatts, or 1 lakh megawatt capacity by March 2022.

This dovetailed very well with India's commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, where India promised to cut its emissions relative to GDP by one third, by the year 2030.

CNBC-TV18's Manisha Natarajan caught up with Sunil Jain, CEO of Hero Future Energies, Nikhil Dhingra, CEO of Acme Solar Holdings, Debasish Mishra, partner at Deloitte India and Vinay Rustagi, MD of Bridge to India, to discuss if India can dream of achieving the target of 100 gigawatts of solar by 2022.

Here's what they have to say:

Sunil Jain: "One thing good about solar is that it can be commissioned in 12-18 months. So, the cycle is very short. This year we are likely to add over 10000 megawatts. My worry is some of the recent policies of price capping and the basic macroeconomic factors of availability of capital in the market. All renewables or all infrastructure projects are capital intensive and for that you need money. Indian banks are right now not in a position to lend."

Nikhil Dhingra: "When we look at the price of a solar tariff, what we need to see is the entire economics around it in terms of the what are the prevalent price of capex, be it in terms of modules, be it in terms of balance of systems, also what are the solar park charges, what those companies are charging you. So in terms of economics they have improved a lot over a period of last year."

Debasish Mishra: "In last 5 years, renewable capacity addition per year has been in the range of 8.5-9 gigawatts which is a fantastic increase over the previous 5 years where we had a rate of around 3-3.5 gigawatts. So, in that sense, this is the only segment within the power industry where there is still a lot of investment activity which is going on... in the coming 5 years I have no doubt that the rate of capacity addition in renewable would be in the range of 15-20 gigawatts and majority of that will be in the solar PV segment."

Vinay Rustagi: "While solar projects can be setup in 12-18 months but acquiring land and building transmission infrastructure for these projects often takes as long as 3-4 years or even longer. So, that is one big bottleneck which has been slowing down the implementation of projects and addition of new capacity."
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