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'India unlikely to reach 40 GW solar energy capacity by 2022'

A Parliamentary Standing Committee on solar energy has said that it is unlikely that India will be able to reach its target of 40 gigawatts (GW) by 2022
New Delhi: A Parliamentary Standing Committee on solar energy has said that it is unlikely that India will be able to reach its target of 40 gigawatts (GW) by 2022. The committee, in its latest report, revealed that the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has to speed up the process of expanding rooftop solar capacity.  As per the government’s annual target, the rooftop solar capacity of 16,000 MW should have been in place by 2018-19 but as of October 15, 2019, only 1,826 MW capacity has been achieved, said a report released by the Parliamentary Standing Committee. As per the committee’s report, the government has been able to achieve about 11 percent of their yearly targets. 

Revised solar energy targets

The panel said the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) estimates that a rooftop solar potential of 42.8 gigawatts can be generated. And accordingly, the government has set its sight on installing 40 GW capacity by 2022. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has now revised the yearly rooftop solar targets, according to which 3,000 MW capacity has to be commissioned during 2019-20.  The committee has insisted that the MNRE should seriously reconsider this goalpost to keep the National Solar Mission from going off-track. "The ministry should make arrangements so that the cost payable by the consumer may be recovered through monthly instalments as people are generally reluctant to invest the whole amount at a time," the committee said.

Promote local manufacturers

The committee also said it was unhappy about India's poor domestic solar manufacturing capacity. Keeping in tune with the government’s vision of ‘Make In India’, the government should promote local manufacturers and reduce their dependency on foreign nations, it added. "The ministry should work to provide subsidy or viability gap funding (VGF) and low-interest rate loans to domestic manufacturers so as to make them competitive," the report said.