Timelines of a MW Solar Project Installation in India

One prominent distinction between solar power plants and many other conventional power plants, especially thermal or nuclear power plants, is the amount of time it takes to instal the power plant. While conventional power plants could take a few years from concept/design to commissioning, solar power plants, even those that are reasonably large (10+ MW) can be completed within a few months.

Once the PPA has been signed and the financial closure is through, the EPC selected is then responsible for the completion of the project in time. Usually MW projects of the scale of 1-5 MW takes around for 4-5 months for completion.
The expected project implementation schedule for a small (1-5 MW) utility scale project is given below.

The implementation of a solar power plant can be broadly divided into four stages:

Planning & Development

Comprises surveys, preliminary design, developing the approach to the site, and getting the necessary approvals.

This Phase also comprises survey of land and soil. Soil testing is one of the more important aspects that are not considered by many developers. The type of soil could significant impact cost as the types of foundations for the mounting structures could differ significantly depending on whether the soil is a loose soil or whether it is much better.

Approvals is another aspect that should be considered as an important activity during the initial stages. While most governmental approvals for solar power plant should be easy to obtain with the significant thrust that the state and central governments are placing on solar, approvals also include getting the necessary nods for the right of way from those who own the land along the way from your power plant until the sub-station. Right of way transactions have been a headache for many renewable energy power plant developers (not just solar), so please do be wary of this. We have known of cases where the owing to issues with the right of way approvals projects have gotten delayed for many months!

System Design

Comprises specific sections such as shadow analysis and arriving at optimal placing for the solar panels, design and layout of the entire power plant, for both the AC and DC sides of the solar power plant, and design for the evacuation of power until the sub-station.

This is a critical stage as well. A good EPC will ensure that he spends significant time and efforts during this stage. With sophisticated software solutions available for design today, a good EPC will utilise these technologies to arrive at optimal designs.

Procurement of Components

Procurement of both the core components such as the solar panels and inverters, as well as the balance of systems


Main civil works, installation of the main solar power generating system, installation of the evacuation system, and complete testing of the system.

Approximate timelines for each of the stages and sub-stages is provided below.

MW Solar TimelineMW Solar Timeline-2



16 thoughts on “Timelines of a MW Solar Project Installation in India

  1. Lt Col Masjid

    Is it possible to complete even 100 MW solar power plants within 4-6 months? In comparison, how long does it take to instal coal power plants of a 100 mw capacity

  2. dr hardev singh chandi

    sir,how government approval for solar power project be obtained . what are the steps involved. whom to apply for 2 mw solar power plant under scheme working in rajasthan state. with regards, dr hardev singh.

  3. Mahendru

    In your chart, you show that supply of components take 6 weeks…isnt that a long time? why do we need so much time for the supply? Is it just transport time?

  4. Malini Seshadri

    So if an EpC were to try crunching the timeline, he should try to attack the generation system installation phase, as that takes over 10 weeks. But is this possible without compromising on quality?

  5. Kesavan Sundar

    Will rooftop solar projects take longer or shorter time than ground-mounted MW solar projects?

    How to shorten time to construct solar power plants?

  6. MONISH Kulkarni

    Evacuation system could end up taking much longer if there are right of way issues that crop up. In fact, there are cases where because of the Right of Way challenges, projects have been delayed by over 6 months!

  7. Nitesh manjrejar

    Is there any central or state government guidelines for the timelines within which solar power plants need to be commissioned? Does MNRE has any standards for this?

  8. Neil

    Has the time to instal a solar Power Plant come down in the last 5 years? If so, what have been the main techniques and strategies used to reduce the time?

  9. Rajagopalan TRK

    Dear Mr Santhanam

    I think the timeline should be appreciated in the right perspective and we should not try to look at minor issues like will it be 3 months or 4 months. It takes years to build a thermal power plant and over a decade to build a nuclear power plant. Even a small hydro power plant takes over 4 years to implement in India as there are so many approvals to be obtained

    Considering all these, solar powers can take off really, really fast.

    And that is what should be kept in mind

    Thank you

    Rajagopalan TRK

  10. Mehdoot Varma

    How long does it take to complete a MW solar power plant installed in Europe or USA? Are the time durations shorter or longer than India?

  11. Mansi

    I think we should be aware that these timelines do not take into account delayes that can happen due to late material arrival (solar panels or inverters) and litigations that can happen from right of way concerns.

  12. TSV rao

    Majority of Indian solar power plants of less than 10 MW are getting completed by 4 months from what I have seen in Andhra and Telangana states.

  13. Keshav REDDY

    Do the EpCs use local labor for construction work or do they use their own permanent constructions experts? If it is local people then construction can be even faster isnt it?

  14. Pingback: Super Big FAQ on MW Scale Solar Power Plants - Solar Mango – #1 guide for solar

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