Bridge India

Weekly Update: Decoding the solar track record of India’s political parties

The first solar policy in India was released by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state of Gujarat in 2009. This was soon followed by a much more comprehensive National Solar Mission at the central government level by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) headed by the Indian National Congress (INC). Both these policies have laid the foundation for the creation of a solar power ecosystem in the country. Today, apart from the NSM at the central government level, 11 Indian states have a solar policy in place (refer). With the general elections underway, BRIDGE TO INDIA is trying to assess which political disposition is more favorable to the solar industry in the country (refer to our first blog of the subject). Today, we are trying to evaluate the experience until now to judge the various state policies based on the political dispensation responsible for it.

  • On an average, BJP ruled states lead in both signing the PPAs and execution of projects followed by INC and then the regional parties
  • The Indian National Congress has to be credited with introducing NSM at the central government level
  • There is a need to improve on the mission and make it more ambitious in terms of its target

Four Indian states introduced their policies when the Indian National Congress (INC) had been in power. These states include: Andhra Pradesh (2012), Uttarakhand (2013), Kerala (2013) and Rajasthan (2011) (Rajasthan now has a BJP government). Cumulatively, these state policies aim to achieve an installed capacity of 4,600 MW across varying time horizons. PPAs for 738 MW have been signed in these states. Of this, a capacity of just 101 MW has been installed.

In comparison, four states introduced their solar policy when the country’s prime opposition political party, Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), was in power in the respective states. These states include: Gujarat (2009), Madhya Pradesh (2012), Chhattisgarh (2012) and Karnataka (2011) (Karnataka now has a Congress government). Cumulatively, these state policies aim to achieve an installed capacity of 2,000 MW across varying time horizons. PPAs for 1,180 MW have been signed in these states. Of this, a capacity of just 1,050 MW has been installed. Gujarat leads the way with an impressive 860 MW installed, followed by noteworthy installations for 175 MW in Madhya Pradesh.

Regional parties in Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab have announced state policies with an aim to achieve an installed capacity of 5,825 MW across varying time horizons. PPAs for 414 MW have been signed in these states. Of this, a capacity of just 8 MW has been installed.

From the initial analysis, it is apparent that on an average, the regional parties have been the most ambitious with their policy targets, followed by INC and the BJP. The order for actual signing of PPAs and commissioning of projects has been just the reverse. BJP ruled states lead in both signing of PPAs and execution of projects, followed by the INC and then the regional parties. 80% of all BJP ruled states, 36% of the INC ruled states and 30% of regional party ruled states have a solar policy in place.

Based on past record, it can be concluded that with regards to solar power, BJP ruled states have done better on most counts except their ambition to set targets. Also, amongst the four regional parties that have released solar policies in their respective states, three have allied with the BJP in the past.

In addition to what is happening at the state level, the INC has to be credited with bringing in the NSM at the central government level. The mission was considered ambitious when it was released. Now, there is a need to improve on the mission and make it more ambitious and in line with targets being set by countries such as China and Japan. Whether or not a probable BJP government is able to deliver it, is yet to be seen. To get more perspective on India solar sector dynamics, follow BRIDGE TO INDIA’s blog.