At the end of 2019, India’s cumulative installed solar power capacity was 35.7 GW according to Mercom’s latest report with rooftop solar adding 4.4 GW in total. Calendar year installations last year added up to 7.34 GW, a 12% YoY decline. In 2020, the market is expected to grow again to 2018 levels. (Source: Mercom India Research)
- In its new annual report for 2019, Mercom India claims India’s annual solar power capacity during calendar year declined 12% to 7.34 GW
- Large scale solar power capacity accounted for over 6.24 GW and rooftop solar added 1.1 GW; the latter suffered its first decline in past five years
- Q4/2019 had 1,897 MW of new solar PV capacity installed growing 15.6% over previous year
- Till the end of 2019, India’s large-scale solar pipeline stood at 23.7 GW while another 31.5 GW is waiting to be auctioned
- In 2020, installations are expected to grow by 17% to 8.5 GW, which is down from 10 GW Mercom predicted previously
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Indian solar power installations during calendar year (CY) 2019 added up to 7,346 MW, declining 12% from previous year’s 8,338 MW. This takes the cumulative installed capacity of solar power in the country to 35.7 GW, according to Mercom India Research’s Q4 & Annual 2019 India Solar Market Update.
Of this capacity, large-scale projects accounted for 85% of installations with 6,242 MW, a YoY decline of 7%; rooftop solar added the remaining 15% with 1,104 MW, suffering its first decline in five years at 33%. In cumulative numbers, large-scale solar capacity reached 31.3 GW, claiming a 87.6% share, and rooftop solar reached a 12.4% share with 4.4 GW.
Mercom calls 2019 a lost year for India’s solar sector as coal power installations grew to 7.8 GW after five consecutive years of decline.
In quarterly terms, Q4/2019 installations went up 15.6% to 1,897 MW, even though Q3/2019 additions were much higher at 2,177 MW. The report sees India’s large-scale solar pipeline at 23.7 GW till the end of Q4/2019 with another 31.5 GW having been tendered and awaiting auctions.
Continued challenges faced by the solar power industry on the regulatory and infrastructure fronts, not to miss payment delays from discoms, tariff caps, safeguard duty and now the talk of a 20% basic customs duty (BCD), among others, continue to make investors as well as developers jittery.
Yet, Mercom expects better times for the Indian PV industry in 2020 expecting installations to grow up by 17% annually to around 8.5 GW, which is a downward revision from its previous forecast of 10 GW. Nevertheless, the analysts expect the country to fall way short of its official 100 GW solar target scheduled for December 31, 2022. Mercom sees India rather settling for anywhere between 65 GW to 70 GW PV.
However, Mercom Capital Group CEO Raj Prabhu offers an optimistic note, “There are several challenges facing the industry but a few fixes that could immediately turnaround the sector would be to remove tariff caps in reverse auctions, getting government agencies to make timely payments and facilitate lending to get the solar market moving in the right direction again.”
A CRISIL report recently claimed 3 GW of Indian solar project capacity may be at risk of getting delayed due to limited access to products from the Coronavirus hit Chinese solar market. Reuters quoted Indian Renewable Energy Secretary Anand Kumar as saying that the government will consider applications from affected developers for an extension of timelines and added that companies can invoke a force majeure clause to secure extension.