Wed, Aug 12, 2015 - Page 15 News List

Solar to contribute 22% to India power needs: study


Solar power is to account for more than a fifth of India’s increase in electricity demand by 2022 as installed capacity reaches 75 gigawatts, according to a research report.

Helped by a US$50 billion infrastructure upgrade and new installations, India’s solar capacity is to be capable of delivering 110 terawatt-hours, or 22 percent, of the required power increase within seven years, according to a report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), a Cleveland-based researcher.

Net electricity demand in India, powered by an economic growth rate of 7 percent, is likely to increase by 500 terawatt-hours by fiscal 2022 — 60 percent of estimated requirements last year, the IEEFA estimated.

A China-like expansion in solar installations is feasible for India in a period of several years, the report said. China’s solar capacity surged from less than 1 gigawatt in 2010 to almost 33 gigawatts at the end of last year, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“India is replicating Germany’s and China’s systematic electricity sector transformation, with the added advantage that the cost effectiveness of this is accentuated by the fact that the price of solar electricity has dropped by 80 percent in five years,” IEEFA energy finance studies director Tim Buckley said in a news release.

India has about 37 gigawatts of green energy capacity. The country aims for an almost fivefold expansion to 175 gigawatts by 2022 at an estimated investment of US$200 billion.

Separately, a new partnership between US-based power company AES Corp and Mexico’s Grupo Bal launched on Monday is to invest up to US$2.5 billion over the next five years mostly in Mexico’s newly opened power sector, a top AES executive said in an interview.

The 50-50 joint venture with Grupo Bal aims to direct about three-quarters of the five-year investment plan to electricity generation from both conventional and renewable sources, including wind and solar power.

“In terms of scale, the idea is to grow our portfolio in the next five years at least by 2 gigawatts, with estimated investment of between US$2 billion and US$2.5 billion,” said Juan Ignacio Rubiolo, head of AES’ Mexican unit.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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