Karntaka now has the highest solar capacity in India, with a cumulative capacity of over 5GW by the first quarter of 2018, as reported by Mercom India. The state has been consistent with its initiatives towards solar energy generation, with earlier reports in 2016 indicating 3.4 GW capacity of solar projects in the state’s pipeline. Mercom reports that an additional solar capacity of 2GW installation was commissioned in 2017, 1.5GW of which came from the state’s solar policy while remaining 800 MW came at a national policy level. The successful installaton of these recent projects cemented Karnataka’s position at the top, beating Telengana. It is to be noted that during 2017, a total of 9.6 GW was installed in India, of which Telengana and Karnataka installed over 2GW each.
To avoid land-related challenges in Karnataka, agencies responsible for implementing the various projects followed a taluk-wise allocation. This also helped them to stay away from disturbing any of the exisiting grid infrastructure.
Mercom reports that Karnataka has won another 1GW solar PV installation auction and have also signed Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) of 640 MW, to be developed in various taluks. In addition, the report suggests that Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited (KREDL) has auctioned for another 550 MW of solar projects to be installed at the Pavagada Solar Park in the Tumkur, Karnataka. A KREDL official said to the Mercom team, “We want to make Karnataka a model renewable energy state. Policy implementation and removal of hurdles by the state electricity regulatory commission, KERC, has led to a spike in the installation numbers. We are easing the process of developing solar projects in the state and the current installation numbers are a reflection of the same.”
Raj Prabhu, CEO, Mercom Capital Group, shares his opinion, “Karnataka has done a commendable job so far in becoming the state with most solar installations. The big question is what happens in Karnataka after the 1 GW of projects remaining in its development pipeline get completed. If power demand remains weak and solar power becomes more expensive due to tariff imposition, future activity is likely to be less robust.”