The sunny days ahead

A recent headline in the MINT newspaper indicated the Governments resolve to double the output from Solar parks to 40GW . With the current installed capacity of Solar PV ( Photovoltaic) at around 9 GW ( Giga Watt) , as reported in the Ministry website, I am missing to locate the balance 11GW of existing capacity. Perhaps my reading is wrong.

Nevertheless , there is no denying that we have made rapid strides from a near zero capacity just seven years ago , more so in the last two years ( Chart 1). The world suppliers are looking at India for the next quantum jump in PV solar demand. They are encouraged by the proactive and bold statements ( like the one in MINT) from Delhi, and our determination to be an active player in the international pollution control effort.

A ten times increase in capacity over 5 years to touch 100GW would certainly be a game changer , across transportation , power generation and a myriad of other sectors. It would catapult us from the 10th rank to the number one position in the world (Chart 2).Incidentally the current installed capacity of PV systems worldwide is 181GW.

The rapid strides in solar PV technology has been the driver for this growth. The capital costs per MW ( Mega Watt) at around Rs 5.3cr gives thermal a run for their money and puts paid to growth in nuclear power. ( Chart 3)
What is fascinating however, is the offers received for recent tenders floated by the Government. The per unit charge that private players have offered to supply power is as low as Rs 2.96 per unit.( Chart 4) ( Check out what you pay for your domestic supply currently!) . If one were to assume the upper of the generally accepted norm of power generation of 5OOO units of per MW per day , for a 330 day working cycle the capital costs recovery at 10% itself would require Rs3.2 Per unit. Obviously the bidders are relying on a substantial grant.

Are we staring at some setbacks going forward or a sustained increase in the subsidy outlay as we achieve Project 100GW?

Sridhar Chari – Sapience Research !


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