There's a new wunderkind on the solar block - Telangana. India's newest state added 279.64 MW of solar power capacity in the six and a half months ended mid-January - the highest among Indian states, according to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
Tamil Nadu was a close second with an increase of 270.97 MW, followed by Rajasthan, which added 217.25 MW. While Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan have been renewable energy heavyweights for a while, Telangana is a rank newcomer. Rajasthan is the solar energy leader in India, having pipped Gujarat to that position last year. Tamil Nadu has topped in wind energy production for more than a decade and is only now getting serious about solar.
In contrast, Telangana had only 62.75 MW of solar capacity in June. India's installed solar capacity increased by 1,246.31MW during this period to 5,129.81 MW. Solar accounts for less than 2% of the country's total installed power capacity and India has set a target of generating 100 GW of solar power by 2021-22.
The great leap raises Telangana's total solar installed capacity to 342.39 MW - the seventh-highest in the country.
In June, it was in 10th position with 62.75 MW. "Telangana is showing great initiative," said Tarun Kapoor, joint secretary in Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. "It has floated tenders on its own, without involvement of the Centre, including a 2,000 MW one, which was the single largest tender done by any state." Developers have been attracted by Telangana's solar policy announced in May, which offers exemption from land ceiling, easy conversion of agricultural land for nonagricultural purposes and full refund of value-added tax (or GST once it is introduced).
Although a number of other states also offer some similar concessions, Telangana extends more benefits and lower costs.