As recently as a few months ago, the alternative energy targets announced by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s government in 2014 seemed wildly overambitious – even to solar electricity enthusiasts in the industry. But a surge of investment in solar power stations now makes them look merely optimistic. “In 2009, when I said that India would have 2 to 3 gigawatts [of solar energy] by 2015, people said ‘That’s not possible’,” says Inderpreet Wadhwa, founder and chief executive of Azure Power, one of the country’s biggest producers. “Today we have 5GW running.” Mr Wadhwa left a technology career in California after he came home to India on what was supposed to be a short personal trip eight years ago and saw the “huge” opportunities presented by the shortage of elect ricity. He started with small solar plants for electricity-hungry districts and rooftop systems for companies to replace costly diesel generators. Today, Azure Power – which is part-owned by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation as well as Foundation Capital and Helion Ventures and is poised for an initial public offering – is one of dozens of domestic and international investors putting money into building or supplying equipment to large-scale solar photovoltaic power stations across India. Mr Modi has championed solar power and helped launch a global solar alliance at the Paris climate summit to mobilise an attention-grabbing $1tn of funds worldwide by 2030. India itself, with current electricity grid capacity of less than 300 gigawatts, aims to increase its solar installations from below 5GW now to 100GW by 2022 – more than double the present solar capacity of China and Germany, the two biggest solar nations.
FT 4th Jan 2016 read more »