In only two years, competitive bidding under India's National Solar Mission drove prices for grid-connected solar energy to nearly the price of electricity from fossil fuels, said the report released here Wednesday by the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) and the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW).
During that same period, cumulative installed solar capacity in India surged from 17.8 MW to over 500 MW, as discussed in "Laying the Foundation for a Bright Future: Assessing Progress Under Phase 1 of India's National Solar Mission."
"As the world's second-fastest growing economy, India has sparked a powerful solar market in only two years," said Anjali Jaiswal, senior attorney for the India Initiative of NRDC, a US headquartered international nonprofit environmental organization.
"While the National Solar Mission still faces significant hurdles, India has already made important strides to attract new domestic and international players into the market, and lower the price of solar energy faster than most anticipated."
The report from NRDC and CEEW provides recommendations to aid the Indian government, private sector and other stakeholders in overcoming obstacles to achieving the Mission's goal of 20 GW of installed solar capacity by 2022, equivalent in energy capacity to 40 mid-sized coal-fired power plants.
These include encouraging financing, boosting domestic manufacturing, and creating a conducive environment.
"As nations race to become clean energy leaders, governments around the world will be closely following the progress of India's National Solar Mission," said Dr. Arunabha Ghosh, CEO for the CEEW, an independent think-tank based in New Delhi.