India Installed 2.2 GW Solar In Q3/2019

India Added 44% More Solar PV Capacity In Q3/2019 On YoY Basis Yet Suffered 19% Decline During 9M/2019, Says Mercom, Revises Full Year 2019 Forecast For Country To 7.3 GW
02:30 AM (Beijing Time) - 22. November 2019

Rooftop solar installations continue to move at a snail’s pace in India. The country has been able to achieve only 10% of its massive 40 GW target for the segment due by December 31, 2022, according to Mercom. (Source: Mercom India Research (Sept 2019))

Key Takeaways

  • Mercom’s Q3/2019 report says Q3/2019 solar PV installations for India increased to 2.2 GW registering an increase of 44% over last year
  • During 9M/2019, the total additions were 19% less than 6.7 GW down from 5.4 GW on annual basis
  • Project delays and slower rooftop solar installations during the year have negatively impacted deployments
  • It expects over 200 MW of projects to be canceled because of delay in commissioning
  • Mercom has revised its full year 2019 forecast to 7.3 GW for the country, compared to 8 GW guided earlier and down from 8.3 GW installed in 2018
  • For CY 2020, Mercom sees annual deployments of 10 GW thanks to some projects that have been pushed back to 2020

Newly installed solar PV capacity during the third quarter in calendar year (CY) 2019 reached 2,170 MW, that’s a 44% increase over 1.59 GW a year back. Installations were led by Tamil Nadu for large scale solar installations, followed by Rajasthan and Karnataka. With this, Mercom India Research says, India’s installed PV capacity in 9M/2019 went up to 5.4 GW, a decline of 19% from 6.7 GW added in 9M/2018 (see Mercom: India Installed 6.6 GW PV In 9M/2018).

The 5.4 GW from solar added to 13 GW of all power capacity additions in the country during the first three quarters of 2019 representing 41.4% of renewables added that claimed 56% of new installations. Coal accounted for around 44.1% of the new additions in the period.

This decline has prompted Mercom to revise its forecast for CY 2019 to 7.3 GW, bringing it down from its 8 GW estimate previously, and even down from 8.3 GW installed in 2018 owing to a slowdown in rooftop solar installations, partial commissioning of large-scale solar projects and more than a GW of projects pushed back to 2020 from the earlier deadline of Q3/2019 and Q4/2019.

More than 200 MW of projects are also anticipated to be canceled due to delays in commissioning which will lead to companies losing their bank guarantees.

Overall, cumulative solar power capacity of the country till the end of September 2019 had gone up to 33.8 GW with rooftop solar accounting for over 4 GW or 12% of it. Of the national target of 40 GW to be achieved by December 31, 2022, this segment has now achieved only 10%. The rooftop solar market looks unlikely to scale up fast because of economic and regulatory hurdles, adds Mercom, adding to the unavailability of finance for rooftop projects among commercial and industrial (C&I) companies due to the slowdown in the market.

Nonetheless, things will be brighter in CY 2020, as Mercom sees 10 GW of annual installations being reported in the period ‘assuming stable market conditions’ which will make it the first time India can boast of adding new solar in double digit in a single year.

Mercom Capital Group CEO and Co-Founder Raj Prabhu explains, “The pipeline of projects due to be commissioned in 2020 looks a lot stronger, and we should see the solar market resume year-over-year growth again. But a lot will depend on the economy getting back on track, which will affect lending and power demand.”  

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) seems to be taking an active interest in sorting out the issues at policy level. It recently extended a ISTS waive off period for solar and wind power plants (see India Extends ISTS Waive Off Period).

A report in The Times of India (TOI) claims the government has asked central public sector undertakings (CPSU) in the power sector to acquire over 200,000 hectares of land to set up 47 GW of green power units in the country under a new plug and play model. The acquisition will be done via new fully-owned special purpose vehicles (SPV) in a bid to derisk projects from land acquisition, make available transmission corridors and reduce tariffs by up to INR 0.20 ($0.0028) per kWh.

Through these efforts, the government wants to set up ultra-mega renewable energy parks with an aggregate capacity of 4 GW each. This will also include floating solar power plants, as per the report.

The Mercom Q3 India Solar Market Update report can be purchased from its website.

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews

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Anu Bhambhani