The government has dropped its plan to install 12GW of solar capacity out of total 15 GW envisaged through state-owned NTPC as solar tariff dipped recently, Parliament was informed Thursday.
Earlier, the government had planned to install 15 GW of solar energy capacity through NTPC, which was to be bundled with thermal power supply to specific states. The power company has already completed auction of 3GW capacity out which 2.75GW is installed and 0.25GW is under construction.
"Since the solar power price has fallen recently, it is not proposed to take up Tranche II (5GW) and III (7GW)," said Power and New & Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
Ministry of New & Renewable Energy had issued the guidelines for selection of 3,000 MW of Solar PV Capacity (i e identified quantum of Tranche-I) in March 2015. Under the scheme, it was envisaged that the then costlier solar power will be bundled with cheaper thermal power, so as to supply combined power at an affordable price.
The minister told the house that the entire capacity of 3GW Tranche-I (of the NTPC) has been awarded and the capacity of 2.75 GW has already been commissioned and remaining 0.25 GW capacity is under construction.
He further said that the government had launched the state specific bundling scheme for implementing 15,000 MW of grid-connected solar PV power plants under National Solar Mission (NSM) in a span of 5 years from 2014-15 to 2018-19 in three tranches, with NTPC as the implementing agency.
Under Tranche I, NTPC had implemented 3GW during 2014-15 to 2016-17. Under Tranche II, the proposed solar capacity was 5GW during 2015-16 to 2017-18. It was also envisaged to implement 7GW through the NTPC under Tranche III during 2016-17 to 2018-19.
An industry experts said that the scheme was planned when solar tariff was high and the government proposed to bundle expensive solar energy with cheaper thermal power to make the clean source a viable business proposition.
They further said that now there is no need to do such bundling because solar power tariff has already touched all time low of Rs 2.44 per unit and remains below Rs 3 per unit mark in most of the auctions these days.
According to the NTPC's records, its average tariff was Rs 3.42 per unit during first half of this fiscal, which is mostly coal based thermal power.
In a separate reply to the house, the minister said: "A total of 37.83 GW of renewable energy capacity has been added in the country during the last four years and the current year (up to October 2018), with an estimated investment of about Rs 1.96 lakh crore".
The renewable energy sector has received foreign direct investment of $3833.38 million, with Mauritius topping the chart with $966.10 million followed by Singapore at USD 741.36 million and Netherlands at $617.31 million.
He also informed that a total investment of Rs 5,11,614.48 crore is required to have 175GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, which includes Rs 3,78,437.10 crore for solar energy, Rs 1,25,068.25 crore for wind energy , Rs 3,178.63 crore for biomass and Rs 4,930.50 crore for small hydro (up to 25 MW).
The government has set a target for installing 175 GW of Renewable Energy capacity by the year 2022, which includes 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from Biomass and 5 GW from Small Hydro power, he added.
"A cumulative renewable energy capacity of 73.35 GW has been installed in the country up to October 2018. To achieve the balance target of 101.65 GW, an investment of about Rs 5.12 lakh crore has been estimated as per average current capital cost," he said in the reply.