Rajasthan is now the top state in solar installations overtaking Karnataka at the end of the third quarter of the calendar year (CY) 2021. At the end of September, the total solar installations in the state stood at 8.2 GW, out of which utility-scale projects accounted for 7.65 GW and rooftop installations accounted for 543 MW.
According to Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker, the cumulative installations in Karnataka at the end of September stood at 7.7 GW. Of this, large-scale projects accounted for 7.4 GW.
In 1H 2021, Rajasthan contributed to about 35% of large-scale installations with 1.2 GW of capacity installed.
Karnataka had been the top solar state since 2018, with nearly 20% of the cumulative large-scale solar installations in the country, followed by Rajasthan with 17%. In 2018, Karnataka had overtaken Telangana to claim the top spot with over 5 GW of installed solar PV capacity. In Karnataka, there was a significant capacity of solar projects installed in the state between 2017 and 2019. However, recently the state has not seen much activity as it has exceeded its RPO target by 177%. However, with the central government estimating a solar potential of close to 25 GW in the state coupled with high agricultural and industrial power demand, the state will still be one of the top destinations for solar project development. Land availability has also been one of the factors for the drop in installations.
In Rajasthan, solar installations were affected due to the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, although 2020 was worse. Close to 3 GW of the interstate transmission system (ISTS)-connected solar power projects are expected to be commissioned on time in the state soon.
However, upcoming projects in Rajasthan could face delays in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the need to protect the endangered Great Indian Bustard, whose habitat lies in some of the project areas. Approvals for new transmission infrastructure development have been stalled, with the authorities awaiting instructions from the Supreme Court on whether the transmission lines in the future need to be underground or overhead.
The state also houses the world’s largest Bhadla Solar Park.
According to Mercom’s Q2 2021 India Solar Market Update, India added 2,488 MW of solar capacity in Q2 CY 2021, increasing 19% quarter-over-quarter. Solar installations were up by 1,114% year-over-year compared to 205 MW added in Q2 2020. The capacity additions in Q2 2021 were the highest in a quarter since Q2 2018.
In 2019, Rajasthan had released its Solar Energy Policy 2019, which aims to achieve a target of 30 GW of solar power by financial year (FY) 2024-25. Of this, utility or grid-scale solar parks will account for 24 GW, distributed generation 4 GW, rooftop solar, and solar pumps accounting for 1 GW each.
Rakesh is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Prior to joining Mercom, he worked in many roles as a business correspondent, assistant editor, senior content writer, and sub-editor with bcfocus.com, CIOReview/Silicon India, Verbinden Communication, and Bangalore Bias. Rakesh holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). More articles from Rakesh Ranjan.