In January 2010, the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy launched the "National Solar Mission" (NSM): 20 GW grid connected solar power shall be installed by 2022, 2 GW off-grid including 20 million solar lights by 2022 and further research and manufacturing targets were announced.
Until April 2017 India has installed 12,5 GW of photovoltaic:
If the added capacity would stagnate on 5.5 GW/year, the original target would be met within 1.5 years. The government revised cumulative the NSM targets from 20 to 100 GW by 2022: 12 to 17.5 GW shall be installed every year, which seems doable compared to 10-34 GW/year installed in China. Calculating with normative costs of 5 crore per MWp resp. ca. 650 EUR/kWp, the total program involves an investment of about 65 Mrd EUR. The offered solar electricity prices decreased from 11 Rs/kWh in 2010 to 5 Rs/kWh in 2016 (ca. 6.5 EUR-cent/kWh). For tenders in May 2017, 2.5 Rs/kWh resp. 3.25 EUR-cent/kWh are offered.
This has to be compared with coal-power costs of about 3.2 Rs/kWh and put in relation to the whole Indian electricity market: By end of July 2017, a total capacity of 330 GW is connected to the national grid, whereof 30% consists of renewable power. The electricity production in the year 2016/17 was 1'422 TWh; the solar mission might add more than 10% until 2022. The gross electricity consumption per capita was 1'122 kWh, compared to e.g. 6600 kWh in Germany.
Coal power plants produce somewhat 70% of the electricity today, however the national coal supply is limited and is of low fuel value. While adding coal power plants would lead to increasing coal imports, building up a solar industry generates jobs. In 2016/17 about 3 GW of solar modules were produced in India compared to 5.5 GW installed in 2016/17 and 17.5 GW to be installed annually in future. Recently new coal power projects have been canceled because they would not be competitive against solar power.
Knowing potential challenges in India, I was delighted about the NSM in 2010 but also fearful that the ambitious target might fail like other initiatives (e.g. on Jatropha biofuel). However it is very promising now to see more than 5 GW installed in the last year, and it only just began.
Since an industrial traineeship in Pune in 2003 I am engaged for a sustainable development in India. I followed the Jatropha biofuel hype in 2007 and evaluated work opportunities in the Indian solar sector in 2010. Between 2013 and 2016 I visited India for an NGO enabling education for orphans in Telangana.