- BTI’s latest report believes India installed 2.1 GW new grid connected solar power generation capacity in Q1/2021
- Utility scale solar continued to lead capacity with more than 1.7 GW contribution to Q1/2021 additions
- Module prices may go up as several international suppliers are believed to be renegotiating prices and may also delay shipments to India due to local supply chain constraints
- Report writers expect the country to install 1.35 GW of new capacity in Q2/2021, as against its previous forecast of 2.35 GW, mainly due to 2nd wave of COVID-19 leading to lockdowns in several states
There was 33% sequential growth in India’s utility scale grid connected solar power generation capacity in Q1/2021, with 1.735 GW. With another 370 MW from the rooftop solar segment, India installed 2.105 GW in Q1/2021, according to clean energy market intelligence firm Bridge to India (BTI).
Utility scale solar represented 82% of total additions with rooftop solar bringing in another 18%, it said in its India Solar Compass Q1/2021. With the addition of 2.1 GW, India’s total grid connected solar power generation capacity at the end of March 2021 reached 44.24 GW.
Overall, total commissioned utility scale, rooftop solar and off-grid solar power capacity of India stood at 35.939 GW, 7.162 GW and 1.140 GW, respectively, as per the report. The country’s total solar power project pipeline as on March 31, 2021 was 52.392 GW.
A year back in Q1/2020, BTI said India installed 989 MW of new solar power capacity (see BTI: India Installed 989 MW Solar In Q1/2020).
Tender and auction activity
BTI counts 24 utility scale solar tenders having been launched in the reporting quarter representing a total capacity of 10.8 GW, representing 40% sequential increase. Auction activity showed sequential improvement with 163% QoQ increase for up to 8.56 GW auctioned. At least 6.4 GW was auctioned in Andhra Pradesh alone (see Andhra Pradesh Auctions 6.4 GW Solar PV Capacity).
About the Indian government’s policy measures of imposition of Basic Customs Duty (BCD) and Production Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes leading to India becoming atmanirbhar (self-reliant in English), BTI isn’t too optimistic. It explained, “We maintain that these measures would do little to improve India’s manufacturing competitiveness. Trade barriers and incentives would lead to scaling up of domestic manufacturing capacity in the short-term but goals of self-sufficiency and making India a global manufacturing hub are unrealistic.”
However, it is not so sure of the next quarter with several Indian states under a 2nd wave of COVID-19 related lockdown which it believes is likely to pull down Q2/2021 installations. “Short-term market outlook is murky because of increase in project execution costs and delays arising from second wave of COVID-19. We expect construction progress to slow down considerably in Q2 2021 due to lockdown across states,” said BTI.
At the same time, though module and equipment prices were ‘relatively stable’ in Q1/2021, analysts fear risk of delays in module shipments going forward and believe that many international suppliers are renegotiating prices and/or delaying shipments to India because of local supply chain constraints.
The analysts have lowered their projection for Q2/2021 by 1 GW, down from 2.35 GW forecast earlier to now expecting 1.35 GW.
Going forward, construction activity in Q3/2021 should pick up pace when new grid connected capacity can grow to 2.47 GW, according to BTI.
The BTI report can be purchased on its website.
Recently, another market intelligence firm Mercom India Research said India installed 2.05 GW new solar power capacity in Q1/2021 (see 88% YoY Increase In Indian Solar Installations In Q1/2021).