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BRIDGE TO INDIA is the leading consultancy and knowledge services provider in the Indian renewable market. We work with all industry stakeholders including technology companies and contractors, project developers and investors, government agencies and developmental institutions. We have a unique vantage point on the market dynamics, combining the 360 degree view from our market intelligence capability with the in-depth analysis performed as part of our consulting and transaction advisory businesses. Our goal is to enable innovative cleantech solutions in India.

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In 2014, India’s Modi government announced a target to install 1 million solar water pumps, equivalent to approximately 3,000 MW, for irrigation and drinking water by 2021 (refer). But actual cumulative installed base stood at merely 25,000 pumps as of April 2016 (refer). The bleak performance is despite the government offering massive subsidies of as much as 75-95% of upfront capital cost of the pumps.

  • Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have made some progress but overall results are disappointing despite generous capital subsidies being offered to farmers;
  • Poor progress is down primarily to flawed procurement process, over emphasis on capital subsidies and lack of awareness amongst farmers;
  • To improve implementation and reduce subsidy outgo, alternate procurement and financing models need to be explored;

Rooftop solar market in India has grown at a CAGR of 98% in the last four years. As of September 30, 2016, total installed capacity stands at 1,020 MW (refer INDIA SOLAR ROOFTOP MAP 2016). Growth in this market is being primarily driven by improvement in price competitiveness of rooftop solar power vis-à-vis grid power.

Commercial and industrial (C&I) segment currently makes up for almost 63% of this market. The remaining 25% goes to residential and around 12% to government buildings. C&I segment has grown at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 103% in last four years. As viability improves, BRIDGE TO INDIA expects this segment to almost double by 2017 and then continue its expansion to achieve a CAGR of 51% until 2022.


Last month, Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited (TANGEDCO) floated a tender for 500 MW of utility scale solar projects. This tender has received limited interest and that too predominantly from smaller developers who have submitted 20 bids totalling just 116 MW. This tender follows an allocation of approx. 1,200 MW in early 2015 where a fixed tariff of INR 7.01/kWh (USD 0.10/kWh) was offered to developers. For that allocation, interest was received for a capacity of around 3,200 MW from over 90 developers. Given such large oversubscription, Tamil Nadu tightened qualification criteria significantly for this tender. Bidders were required to own land at the time of bidding and fully commission the projects within 10 months of PPA execution, which is much more stringent in comparison to other tenders.

  • Developers had major concerns about grid curtailment, payment delays and a very tight timeline but no credible steps were taken to address these;
  • A rush to complete the tender in time has in fact proven counterproductive;
  • There is no reasonable justification for why Tamil Nadu does not go through National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) or Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) for allocations; this could enhance off-take bankability and help reduce tariffs;

Rapid growth in the US rooftop solar market and the number of net-metering connections has opened a battle-front between utilities on one hand and solar developers and consumers on the other hand. Utilities are arguing against the rationale of giving customers full retail credit for their excess energy and vigorously challenging the current net-metering framework in many states including Arizona, Nevada, Maine, Florida, and Alabama. Future net-metering policy in these ‘battle ground states’ is now being decided by public hearings, ballots, regulatory intervention and court rulings.

Evolution of net metering policy in USA holds vital lessons for the fledgling rooftop solar market in India, which is still very small but growing rapidly (refer).

  • Many Indian utilities are already resisting net-metering connections for commercial and industrial (C&I) customers;
  • The current Indian net-metering regulations are too simplistic and they need to be overhauled urgently for sustainable growth of rooftop solar in India;
  • Waivers provided for promoting the rooftop solar market need to be phased out over time and both utilities and customers should be aware about how this transition will happen;

India’s total installed solar capacity including rooftop and off-grid segments has crossed 10 GW mark, a major milestone for the sector.

India is expected to add new solar capacity of 5.1 GW this year, which is a growth of 137% over last year. BRIDGE TO INDIA expects average annual capacity addition of 8-10 GW per annum from next year onwards. The pace of sector activity has picked up tremendously in the last two years (see chart below) because of strong government support and increasing price competitiveness of solar power. India is expected to become the world’s third biggest solar market from next year onwards after China and the USA.


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