Indian C&I Solar Segment To Add Over 1.8 GW In CY2021

IEEFA & JMK Research: Indian C&I Solar Installations To Grow 47% YoY To Over 1.8 GW In CY2021 As Demand For Onsite Solar Goes Up; Segment Exploring Larger Wafer Sized Modules & Battery Energy Storage Systems

Indian C&I Solar Segment To Add Over 1.8 GW In CY2021

A joint report by IEEFA and JMK Research expects the Indian C&I market segment increasingly adopting onsite solar installations. Annual additions in this segment, after dropping 27% in CY2020 to 1.27 GW, are expected to accelerate by 47% in CY2021 to 1.87 GW. (Photo Credit: IEEFA/JMK Research)

  • Demand for onsite solar installations is increasing in India’s C&I segment as it is expected to grow up to over 1.8 GW in CY2021
  • The need for businesses to decrease their carbon footprint along with electricity costs and the attractiveness of onsite solar with its falling prices act as incentives
  • As BESS system prices drop, there will be more uptake of solar by the C&I segment going forward

A lull in the commercial and industrial (C&I) solar installations space in India in CY2020 brought on by COVID-19 related disruptions resulted in this segment to add only 1,274 MW, reflecting an annual decline of 27%. A new report sees this sector to grow by 47% to 1,875 MW in CY2021.

According to the report writers, demand for onsite solar installations has risen substantially and is expected to be sustained, thanks to businesses looking at reducing their electricity costs, carbon emissions, presence of new and innovative solar technology solutions in the space, and accessible financing options.

Falling module and battery energy storage system (BESS) prices also make switching over to a rooftop solar or rooftop solar+storage an attractive model to adopt, according to the report titled Emerging Technology Trends in the C&I Rooftop Solar Market in India Examining the Benefits and Challenges of New Technology Solutions. It is a joint collaboration between the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis and JMK Research & Analytics.

As battery storage prices come down to an estimated $100 per kWh by 2023, the market would further shift towards a rooftop solar+BESS system. “Specifically, there is a huge opportunity for rooftop solar+ BESS to replace diesel gensets, which represents 90 GW of aggregate capacity in behind-the-meter (BTM) applications in India,” reads the report.

Some of the interesting points covered in the report, with the help of case studies, are as follows:

  • For the C&I segment, it is the capital expenditure (Capex) model that works best, compared to operating expenditure (Opex) model, since in the former the payback time is estimated between 3 to 4 years.
  • Authors point out that while polycrystalline solar modules with lower wattage majorly dominate this segment in India, onsite solar systems with higher wattage mono-PERC modules (400W+ and 500W+) are now getting popular.
  • “The M2 wafer (156.75mm x 156.75 mm) and M2.5 wafer (158.75mm x 158.75mm—introduced only last year) are being phased out in 2021. It is expected that the domestic rooftop solar market will shift from the M2.5 type to M6 (166mm x 166mm) cell-based modules in the near-term,” notes the report.
  • Indian C&I installers are exploring new technological developments for C&I rooftop/onsite solar systems as larger sized wafer based modules allowing output of over 500 kW, bifacial modules, battery storage, solar PV integrated with electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and building integrated PV (BIPV).

“The pandemic has increased the price sensitivity of C&I consumers who already pay higher tariffs to cross-subsidise agricultural and residential consumers. Saving on electricity costs is absolutely critical for them,” according to IEEFA’s Energy Economist and Lead India, Vibhuti Garg. “Solar module and battery prices have already fallen, and with the government’s new Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme to boost domestic solar manufacturing, solar technology prices are expected to drop even further.”

The Emerging Technology Trends in the C&I Rooftop Solar Market in India Examining the Benefits and Challenges of New Technology Solutions report can be viewed and downloaded for free on IEEFA’s website.

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

Senior News Editor: Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews. Anu is our solar news whirlwind. At TaiyangNews she covers everything that is of importance in the world of solar power.Before joining our team, Anu worked in various positions at publications of the Times Group in New Delhi. As a Principal Correspondent, she conceptualized special features and supplements for both The Times of India and The Economic Times. While Anu delved deep into solar at TaiyangNews, environment topics have been close to her heart before. As Assistant Editor, she was responsible for launching Planet Earth for The Economic Times, a special series on environment. Before joining the Times Group, Anu was a Copy Editor at the Hindustan Times.Anu holds a Masters degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Rajasthan. She also studied at the Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi on E-Outreach: New Media Technologies for Advocacy and Strategic Communication, Social Media

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