India’s prolific solar power producing states have helped towards the country's aim of achieving 100,000MW of renewable energy by 2022
In 2010, when India’s National Solar Mission was launched, the country had just 17MW of installed solar power — but with its current 30,000-megawatt (MW) production capacity, India has far exceeded the target of 20,000MW set to achieve by 2020.
It is now the fourth-largest solar power producer in the world, with more than a third of its total energy capacity produced from renewable sources.
India’s biggest solar power producing states are found in the west and south of the country.
Top five states for solar power production in India
NS Energy profiles the top five solar power producing states of India.
1. Karnataka — 7,100MW
The south-western state of Karnataka heads India’s list of states producing solar energy. With total installed solar power capacity of about 7,100MW — notwithstanding the 1,000MW of projects in the pipeline — Karnataka is way ahead of the other states.
Karnataka’s 13,000-acre Pavagada Solar Park (or Shakti Sthala) in Tumakuru district is one of the biggest solar plants in India, with a production capacity 2,050MW.
The state is likely to see three more ultra mega solar power parks, with a capacity of 2,500MW each, in the districts of Bidar, Koppal and Gadag.
2. Telangana — 5,000MW
After Karnataka, the southern state of Telangana comes second in terms of solar power capacity in India. Launched in 2014, following the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana’s total installed solar energy has reached about 5,000MW — a figure that it had set for itself to achieve by 2020. This includes standalone rooftop solar units as well as grid-connected ones.
The state also opted for a distributed solar installation model, which has managed to earn it about Rs. 450 crore in the form of savings. Instead of concentrating these projects at a single location, Telangana has spread them across more than 180 locations.
3. Rajasthan — 4,400MW
One of the most solar power savvy states of India, Rajasthan has a higher potential for solar power generation than any other state in the country — yet, it trails behind Karnataka and Telangana. As of November 2019, the operational solar power projects in Rajasthan accounted for about 4,400MW of solar energy, while 1,900MW more are in the pipeline. By 2025, Rajasthan aims to install a total capacity of 30,000MW of solar energy.
The 14,000-acre Bhadla Solar Park in Jodhpur is currently the world’s largest fully operational solar park, with a capacity of 2,245MW of installed solar energy. Rajasthan is also home to India’s only tower type solar thermal power plant.
The central government recently revealed plans for a 25,000MW ultra mega renewable energy park. In the next three years, during the project’s first phase, 10,000MW of solar power capacity will be installed in the state.
4. Andhra Pradesh — 3,470MW
Claiming to be India’s second-largest state in terms of clean energy, Andhra Pradesh possesses about 10% of the nation’s capacity for green energy. With its solar and wind projects adding up to about 7,700MW, Andhra’s cumulative capacity of commissioned solar power is more than 3470MW, placing it the fourth on this list.
Andhra Pradesh houses the 1,000MW ultra mega solar park in the district of Kurnool. Another 1,500MW solar park is in the planning stage and two more large-scale parks are on the verge of completion in the district of Kadapa.
Due to the rising demand for power in the state, the government of Andhra Pradesh is planning for a 10-gigawatt (GW) mega solar power project, and intends to supply this power without interruption and free of charge to the agricultural sector.
5. Gujarat — 2,654MW
Out of Gujarat’s current total renewable energy production of 9,670MW, about 2,654MW consists of solar energy. It is planning to boost its renewable energy capacity to 30,000MW by 2022.
The state is the top in India for domestic rooftop solar installations — a total of 50,915 — which account for nearly 64% of the country’s total of 79,950, as of March 2, 2020.
To support India’s target of installing 100,000MW capacity of solar power under the National Solar Mission, of which 40,000MW has been planned through solar rooftops, Gujarat will be aiming for a solar energy capacity of 8,024MW by 2021-22, while bringing in 3,200MW via the rooftop segment.
Gujarat’s single-biggest solar power generation capacity can be found in Patan district’s Charanka Solar Park, which currently produces 600MW and is soon expected to reach 790MW.