India is struggling to add electricity generation capacity to meet peak demand. Power cuts are common across the country, which battles an average 9 percent shortfall that the government says shaves about 1.2 percentage points off annual economic growth.
India has missed every annual capacity target since 1951, with 76,000 megawatts targeted for the five years ending March 2017.
A shortage of coal and gas used in conventional thermal plants has prompted the government to set a sun-power generation target of 20 gigawatts by 2022, a 20-fold increase. Welspun Energy Ltd., the country’s biggest developer of solar projects, said last month that the nation will surpass the target in the next decade by twofold.
Surana Ventures Ltd. (SURA), an Indian maker of solar panels, is planning to double production after oversupply from Chinese manufacturers pushed prices down by almost 34 percent in the past year.
The company plans to increase output of panels to 30 megawatts this year and invest 250 million rupees ($4.5 million) in a solar cell plant,
Managing Director Narender Surana said in an interview. Rising demand for alternative energy driven by coal supply bottlenecks and blackouts may help reverse a slide in revenue, he said.
“The shortage in coal supply is a great opportunity for us as more and more people are looking at solar energy as a viable alternative,” Surana said. “As India’s energy needs rise, the shift towards solar power shall become more pronounced.”