Which States Have the Highest Solar Energy Potential in India?

The solar energy generation potential in a specific area can be assessed based on factors like availability of land, solar radiation etc. The National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), an apex institute of Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE), has estimated the potential of solar power in the country to be around 750 GWp. However, India has just reached an aggregate installed capacity of grid-interactive solar energy at 34.6 GW as of March 31, 2020.

Here we look at the top ten states in terms of the estimated potential of solar power generation in India along with their installed capacity.

1). Rajasthan

Rajasthan clinched the top position in the list of states with the highest estimated solar energy potential in the country. It is having an aggregate solar power potential of 142.31 gigawatts (GWp). While its total installed grid-connected solar energy generation capacity stood at merely 4,844.21 MW (or 4.8 GW approx) as on March 31, 2020. In recent times, the state has moved ahead with a more aggressive solar expansion plan, ensuring it remains a key contributor to the national goal of 100 GW solar by 2022.

2). Jammu & Kashmir

Jammu & Kashmir (Before the bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh) grabbed the second-highest position in the list of states having significant estimated potential for solar energy generation in India, and its total solar energy potential is estimated at 111.05 GWp. However, the state’s aggregate installed grid-interactive solar power generation capacity remained at a very nascent stage with 19.30 MW by the end of March 2020. A huge part of this potential lies in what is now the union territory of Ladakh, with its vast open cold ‘desert’. The government is on to the opportunity, as shown by the plans for a 7.5 GW solar park on Ladakh, in the pipeline for over a year now.

3). Maharashtra

Maharashtra houses the third-largest potential position for estimated solar power generation capacity on pan India. Its aggregate solar power potential capacity is calculated at 64.32 GWp. Maharashtra’s total installed grid-connected solar energy generation capacity, including rooftop and ground-mounted, stood at only 1,801.80 MW (or 1.8 GW) at the end of March this year. With its high level of industrialisation, this central Indian state has the potential to be a game-changer for the entire energy mix for the country.

4). Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh enjoyed the fourth-highest position in terms of having significant estimated potential for solar energy generation capacity in India and its total solar energy generation capacity is estimated at 61.66 GWp. While, the state’s cumulative installed grid-interactive solar power generation touched 2,258.46 MW (or over 2.2 GW) as of March 31, 2020. Madhya Pradesh has done more installations as compared to Maharashtra and Jammu & Kashmir, thanks to the progress of its massive REWA solar park. However, the state’s recent signing up for more thermal projects will definitely disappoint those expecting better things from the state.

5). Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh secured the fifth-largest potential for estimated solar energy generation across the country. Its aggregate solar power potential is estimated at 38.44 GWp. However, Andhra Pradesh’s total installed grid-connected solar energy generation capacity reached 3,610.02 MW (or 3.6 GW) by the March-end this year. If there were not policy-related hurdles in the recent past these numbers could be much higher.

6). Gujarat

Gujarat grabbed the sixth-highest position in the list of states with the highest solar energy generation potential in India. Its total potential solar energy generation capacity is calculated at 35.77 GWp. Whereas, the state’s total installed grid-interactive solar power generation capacity stood at 2,948.37 MW (or 2.9 GW) as on March 31, 2020, and represent the state with quite satisfactory numbers as compared to other higher potential states.

7). Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh houses the seventh-largest position for estimated potential solar power generation capacity across the country. This Hydropower rich state has an estimated solar energy potential of 33.84 GWp. That gives the state one of the best chances to be run 100 per cent on renewable energy if the will is there. However, Himachal Pradesh’s aggregate installed grid-connected solar power capacity stood at only 32.93 MW at the end of March 2020. Meanwhile, the state government is now putting in efforts to make the state as a favourite investment destination for investors.

8). Odisha

Odisha secured the eighth-highest position in the list of states with the highest solar energy generation potential on pan India basis and has an estimated solar power potential of 25.78 GWp. On the other hand, the state’s total installed grid-interactive solar power generation capacity stood at 397.84 MW as of March this year. Meanwhile, the Centre has put its plan on the table for the state by announcing the solarisation of Konark Sun Temple and town with 100 per cent financial assistance. Being in the relatively underdeveloped Eastern region, the mineral-rich state has a lot of catching up to do, and a solar first approach could definitely help.

9). Karnataka

Karnataka houses the ninth-largest estimated potential solar power generation capacity in India. Its total estimated solar energy generation capacity is close to 24.70 GWp. However, Karnataka’s cumulative installed grid-connected solar power generation capacity too grew significantly to 7,277.93 MW (or 7.27 GW) as on March 31, 2020. Karnataka has performed well in terms of installation as compared to all the other states having a higher potential of solar energy generation. The state has until recently, offered one of the better open access regimes for renewable power, which has also helped it moved ahead.

10). Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh secured the tenth-highest position for the estimated potential of solar energy generation capacity across the country. It’s aggregate estimated solar energy generation capacity stood at 22.83 GWp. While the state’s total installed grid-interactive solar energy capacity touched 1,095.10 MW (or nearly 1 GW) at the end of March this year. Uttar Pradesh has also picked up the pace and is targeting now over 10 GW of renewable energy capacity addition including solar in the state. The state has a tough battle ahead if it is to overcome its reputation of high potential and low actualisation.

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Manu Tayal

Manu Tayal

Manu is an Associate Editor at Saur Energy International where she writes and edits clean & green energy news, featured articles and interview industry veterans with a special focus on solar, wind and financial segments.

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