Mahindra seeking the sun

Anand Mahindra. Photo.Indian auto-giant commits $732 million towards solar development.

On January 26th, Mahindra Group announced that it will push for increased solar development within its renewables vertical and to commission 500 MW by 2016. This will increase confidence in the marketplace and boost private sector engagement.

The Indian solar story is one of the bright lights of the country. The national solar policy of 2010, which created incentives for investments, along with supporting state policies, have led to current installation totalling 30,000 MW. The national policy had set 20,000 MW of grid-connected solar as the target for 2020. But recent steps have been taken to increase this goal to 100,000 MW by 2022. This is a long way from the 6000 MW that was in place as recently as 2003. With solar energy prices competing with those of traditional energy sources, India has been a global leader in the solar market.

Despite the strong public backing for solar development, private investment appeared to be lacking in Indian solar’s early days. High interest rates, limited specific financing instruments and relatively low private sector investment were some of the challenges of the Indian solar market. But market friendly bidding in states such as Gujarat, and more recently Andhra Pradesh, has made clear that the private sector is ready to do business.

This, combined with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India campaign, reflects that, for India and solar development, the sky is the limit.