Cumulative utility-scale solar installations in India at the end of December 2020 stood at 34 GW, according to Mercom India Research.
Installations were slow for most of the year due to the pandemic but gradually increased with the economy regaining momentum. Here is a look at the top five markets for utility-scale solar (also referred to as large-scale solar) installations:
Telangana was the fifth-largest state for utility-scale solar projects with a cumulative installed capacity of 3.5 GW as of December 2020. This represents about 11% of the total installed power capacity in the country. Solar power accounts for around 2% of the state’s overall installed power capacity. The state has exceeded its solar renewable purchase obligation (RPO) targets by 34% as of September 2020.
With a capacity of 3.7 GW, Tamil Nadu was the fourth-largest state for large-scale solar projects in the country. While the state excels in wind power installations with around 9.4 GW of installed projects, Tamil Nadu has been among the top-five states for utility-scale solar projects for seven consecutive quarters as of December 2020. However, the state is behind on its solar RPO targets by 37% and has a relatively small solar project pipeline of 485 MW.
Andhra Pradesh was the third-largest state for utility-scale solar projects with an installed capacity base of around 3.9 GW. This accounts for 12% of the country’s overall installed power capacity as of December 2020. While the state has 4.1 GW of wind installations, it exceeded its solar RPO target by around 33% and had a development pipeline of 1.2 GW of solar projects at the end of December 2020. In June this year, the Andhra Pradesh cabinet approved a proposal to develop a 10 GW mega solar power project to benefit the state’s farmers.
The second-largest state for utility-scale solar was Rajasthan, with about 4.9 GW of projects as of December 2020 – around 15% of the state’s total installed power capacity. Solar power accounted for 20% of the power capacity mix in the state. It has the largest solar project development pipeline in the country, with around 8.5 GW of solar projects, thanks to the high solar irradiation levels in the state. Rajasthan exceeded its solar RPO targets by 35%. Most of the solar power it produces is exported to other states. The world’s largest Bhadla Solar Park is located in Rajasthan, hosting 2,245 MW of solar projects.
With 7.4 GW of installations, Karnataka continued to remain the top state in the country in terms of large-scale solar installations. Solar accounted for about 23% of the state’s total power capacity installed as of December 2020. The state has been at the top of the list since December 2018 (Q4 2018). It has exceeded its solar RPO targets by a whopping 177% but has a small solar project pipeline of about 280 MW.
In the first half of 2020, Hero Future Energies, SB Energy (SoftBank), and Aditya Birla emerged as the top utility-scale solar project developers in India in terms of installed capacity, according to Mercom’s India Solar Market Leaderboard 1H 2020 report.
Nithin Thomas is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Previously with Reuters News, he has covered oil, metals and agricultural commodity markets across global markets. He has also covered refinery and pipeline explosions, oil and gas leaks, Atlantic region hurricane developments, and other natural disasters. Nithin holds a Masters Degree in Applied Economics from Christ University, Bangalore and a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from Loyola College, Chennai. More articles from Nithin.