What are Your Suggestions to Modi Government for 100 GW Solar in India?

We have seen a large number of solar energy initiatives in the last 2 years – some ambitious, some expected, and some harebrained!

While 100 GW by 2022 is not exactly unachievable, it sure is super ambitious. But, achieving it requires much more than just talk and intentions.

Thankfully, we have seen some action both from the central and state levels in the last one year. We have seen some real movements in large MW solar parks from entities such as NTPC and from states such as AP, Karnataka. MP and Telangana. States such as TN are growing in fits and starts, but there is some movement there too.

Overall, some good stuff to report on the large, MW scale grid connected solar power plants. While 60,000 MW from this sector is still far, far away, it is only one order of magnitude higher than what is available today (about 4500 MW of grid connected solar power plants are already operational in India)

Not so for rooftop solar, where despite brave statements from MNRE and nice target settings, very little is happening on the ground, with total installations countrywide barely touching 500 MW, a far cry from the targetted 40,000 MW by 2022 – we are talking about a 100 fold growth required, TWO ORDERS of magnitude!

I thought I would use this forum to elicit thoughts, perspectives, suggestions and more from folks in and interesting in the Indian solar sector, on what they feel government should do to take India to 100 GW by 2022.

I look forward to interesting and insightful ideas. Thank you in advance!

28 thoughts on “What are Your Suggestions to Modi Government for 100 GW Solar in India?

  1. Urval Chotalia

    If we looking forward to GW DP. i suggest that we have to more focused on #MakeInIndia solar modules as well as other equipment’s. Also encourage to use recyclable product and make sure that Per unit price is as low as possible with energy efficient technique.

    1. Narasimhan Santhanam Post author

      Thank you Urval for your comments.

      I agree with you on the Make in India thing. Even though it appears counterintuitive what with the cost of solar becoming the key thing for solar power adoption, I do think a 100 GW will require a really good manufacturing support system at the local / domestic level

  2. Navendran V

    Modi government’s solar policies are benefitting the rich only

    My suggestion is the government should implement policies that will help small busineses and also farmers to benefit from the fast growth solar market

    1. Narasimhan Santhanam Post author

      Hi Navendran

      Thanks for your comment

      Without getting too political about it, I think the Modi govt is having a business-like approach to solar – they have a target of 100 GW and they are keen to get there, looks like this is the dominant perspective

      Now, are social objectives getting smothered under this overarching businesslike perspective? Difficult to say, though many of the allotments and numbers happening right now are mainly benefitting the big business.

      At the same time, there are a number of state government policies are aimed towards small rooftops and also offgrid products such as solar water pumps, streetlights and lanterns, though unfortunately these do not get the same media attention that the 4.63 Rs/kWh bids of SunEdison and Softbank get.

      Overall, it is undeniable that large scale solar deployment worldwide are driven by big business and the same is the case in India too. We should hope that many of the social initiatives with solar also take off – I hear that some of the loans that India is supposed to get from folks like the World Bank are targetted at the social side of the story

      Let’s wait for a year more…

  3. Hanumatha Rao Chekka

    This government speaks one thing and does different thing. They say make in India, but there are no conduchive policies for solar manufacturing in India. Even the anti dumping duties were not imposed on Chinese paenls, even though Europe and America imposed them…

    The government should develop a good and comprehensive strategy that will really enable a big solar manufacturing ecosystem in our country

    1. Narasimhan Santhanam Post author

      Dear Hanumantha

      Thanks for your comment

      Cannot agree more!

      I have pretty much echoed what you have said above (though in a far less concise manner) in two LinkedIn posts I published some time back. Do look at them when time permits

      Should India Say WTF to WTO on Solar? – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/should-india-say-wtf-wto-solar-narasimhan-santhanam

      Why Make in India Makes Enormous Sense for Solar? – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-make-india-makes-enormous-sense-solar-narasimhan-santhanam

      Thank you once again for your comments, all the best!

  4. Sreedhar Swaminathan

    Rooftop solar sector should be given more thought by the government. Both central and state gov should understand the real problems of the rooftop solar users and provide policies. Now the government is simply increasing subsidies and thinks this alone will make many people go for rooftop solar. That will not be the case.

    Government has to also simplify Net Metering and provide some standards and certifications so that it is easier for rooftop solar users to select EPCs and components.
    Simplest idea is to fund solar panels for all government buildings, do this fast for the central government buildings. Once this is set as an example, others will follow.

    1. Narasimhan Santhanam Post author

      Dear Sreedhar

      Interesting comments. Fully agreed on both

      Subsidies alone will not drive rooftop solar, because based on an analyses done by Solar Mango, the industrial and commercial sectors alone have the potential to take India anywhere close to the 40 GW rooftop solar target and they have drivers others than subsidies (and in any case the newest announcements on capital subsidies are not applicable to these sectors).

      Net Metering, and clarity on standards and certifications on components, and may I add, also on costs – absolutely bang on target. I have interacted with dozens of industrial and commercial prospects in the last one year, and these are some of the biggest drivers.

      The other big driver is something the state governments are anyway happily doing year on year – increasing the grid tariffs for these segments.

      Thanks for your comments once again

  5. Swati Goyal

    Dear Mr Santhanam

    My suggestion to the Modi govt is that the MNRE should disburse the subsidies for rooftop solar power plants in time. This will increase the confidence of investors and result in quick expansion

    1. Narasimhan Santhanam Post author

      There can absolutely be no two opinions on this, Swati


      And I say again – ABSOLUTELY!

  6. Arjun Singh

    Hi Narasimhan

    Good question.

    I think while the government is working on increasing the capacity, it should also ensure that the grid evacuation infrastructure is capable of handing the fast increasing capacity. There are many regions in India where businesses are keen to invest money on solar power plants (for instance in the Kutch region and nearby Saurashtra regions) but owing to poor evacuation infra they are not able to do this.
    More authority to the state nodal agencies. I am not sure how much control the central gov has over SNAs. But in some way, these should be strengthened because there are very few capable people in these organizations right now, and the IAS officer also does not understand the solar sector well.

    Capacity & expertise building in SNAs will go a long way in mane states doing much better in solar power plant implementation

  7. JJS

    Better coordination with the states will yield good results

    Without state support large scale solar power cannot happen in India

    1. Narasimhan Santhanam Post author


      Fully agreed.

      I think the Modi govt has realized this and from what I hear, is working overtime with state governments to see solar pushed to the next stage

      Of course, right now the Modi govt is more keenly working with “friendly” govts such as MP, AP, Maharashtra, Gujarat etc…but soon should be trying these out with not-so-friendly ones too.

  8. Balaguru

    Simple things always work – in this case, the Modi govt should ensure that the solar power allotments be these for rooftop or for ground mounted are honest and transparent

    The market will then ensure its success

    Today, there is a lot of suspicion on how solar deals are being made, especially in states such as Telangana and Tamil Nadu. And these state governments are not doing anything to dispel these suspicions. In TN, developers are saying the authorities ask 25 lacs / MW as bribe to get ppas. If these are true, then solar will again go the same way as many other industries and the general public will lose trust in the entire sector

  9. Gautam Singh

    Smaller MW size allotments for ground mounted PPAs from the government.

    Now, this might seem counter intuitive, as the general thinking is to go for very large solar Power Plants to reach the 100 GW target,

    but in my opinion, alloting just 50 and 100 MW looks nice on paper but such centralised plants might face serious challenges in terms of land acquisitions, grid evacuation and so on. Besides, such large centralised plants seem to be misaligned to the modular nature of solar power, which is superbly aligned to more distributed power generation

    Smaller MW allotments sure are a headache for the coordinating authorities, but these will get thousands of Indian businessmen associated with solar and they will collectively ensure that the system succeeds, instead of just a few large corporates benefitting from this

  10. ReethikaRajesh

    policy consistency is what I would recommend, especialy for rooftop solar

    We have seen how there have been so many flip flops in policy for rooftop both at central and state levels

    At state levels, there is a lot of talk about Net Metering, but only a few states have actually implemented them to benefit all user sector

    Capital subsidy is yet another area where there have been confusion all along. First it was 30% for all rooftops, then it was reduced to 15% and then it was increased again to 30%, but only for some categories of rooftops, but even after this, the users who can avail these are not sure if they will get the subsidies in time

  11. AswathAma

    GoI should promote a good manufacturing ecosystem facility for solar sector. Else, it will not be sustainble for such a large growth

  12. John Attakumbil

    I want to suggest that they should strengthen MNRE with more managerial expertise.

    Right now, there are many technical experts and bureaucrats at MNRE but neither of these experts can interact with the market and understand it well.

    If there are some good managers there especially with marketing and product management background, they will ensure that the ministry understands the market situation much better resulting in more effective policies

  13. Sathya Seelan

    The Modi government should ensure that farmers also benefit in some way from the solar revolution

    As most solar farms are going to be in and around villages and far from cities, if an inclusive policy with the involvement of farmers is made, the growth to 100 GW could be far more sustainable

  14. Giridhar Vyas

    Dear Narasimha

    Thank you for the good question you had asked.

    I think that one of the things that is completely forgotten by the government is skill development for the solar sector

    If we are going to put 100,000 mw of solar power plants, where is the engineers who will build it to perfection and maintain it effectively?

    Today, we are building solar power plants with generic electrical and construction talent and not specialists

    Government needs to ensure that there are a number of trained technicians with specialization in solar power plant design, commissioning and maintenance

    This needs to start right away so that we have tens of thousands of solar specialists within the next 3-4 years

  15. Jay Mehta

    Standards and certifications from the govt will help

    Currently there are few standards in the market apart from international standards by organizations such as UL and TUV…MNRE has a list of registered companies but there are hardly standards set by them whether it is for components or for EPCs

    This could result in substandard solar power plants which in turn could decrease the confidence of the public and investors in solar in general

    1. Narasimhan Santhanam Post author

      Thank you Iqbal for your wishes.

      Solar Mango too wishes our government the very best in their efforts to solarize India

  16. An interested indian

    Modi govt should not forget the millions of Indians who are without any power while preparing a blueprint for solar power

  17. arun

    The Modi government is now torn between investing in coal and solar. Coal is polluting but can scale fast, but solar takes more time to provide electricity for all. A difficult choice to make really.

    1. Narasimhan Santhanam Post author



      A tough choice for any government, honestly!

      But Modi’s hand may be forced towards solar given the trials and tribulations the coal sector has been facing in the last few years, not just on the pollution front, but also on logistics and costs (especially of imported coal).

      I am not envying Modi for once 🙂

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