India, an electricity-starved country, had a moment to rejoice when it recently achieved the rare distinction of having commissioned 1,030.66 MW of grid-coupled solar power installations, largely photovoltaics, under the National Solar Mission (NSM). Phase I of the NSM targeted 1,000 MW and the government is well ahead of time in achieving this goal. The state of Gujarat alone had installed 689.81 MW by June 2012.
This has been largely possible because government policy has played a pivotal role in India's solar industry and impressive leaps forward have been made in attracting new domestic and international players into the market, and lowering the price of solar energy faster than anticipated. Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy said that as phase I has achieved its initial objectives this makes phase II look very promising.
Close to 600 MW of additional capacity is likely to be added by March 2013 when phase I of the NSM ends. There are, however, several challenges to be addressed before the country can realize its target of 20 GW by 2022.