- Mercom says Indian solar installations in 9M/2023 were a total of 5.6 GW, down 47% annually
- It includes 5.6 GW installed in Q3/2023, with a majority being large scale projects thanks to interest of C&I customers
- India’s utility scale project pipeline stood at around 77 GW and over 68 GW of projects tendered were pending auction
- Solar installations in 2023 will be significantly lower YoY, according to Mercom but Q1/2024 will see a rush in deployments spurred by lower module prices
Extensions granted to several large-scale solar and hybrid projects and those facing delays owing to land and transmission issues negatively impacted newer solar PV installations in India during 9M/2023. Mercom India Research says Indian solar installations dropped nearly 47% YoY during the period.
Hoping to secure the lowest available price for solar modules, developers in India are also pushing their procurement to the last minute. Mercom Capital Group CEO Raj Prabhu said, “Declining prices are now the cause of slower growth (compared to rising prices earlier) as developers and installers push procurement to the last minute.”
Solar module prices, thanks to oversupply of Chinese panels, lowered ASPs and eventually brought down average large-scale solar project costs by 4.9% QoQ and 13.4% YoY, said Mercom.
The country installed 5.6 GW new solar capacity in 9M/2023, compared to 10.5 GW a year back as utility scale solar installations dropped more than 54% YoY to 4.2 GW (see India Installed 10 GW+ New Solar PV Capacity In 9M/2022).
Despite an increase of 6% in quarterly solar installations in Q3/2023, India’s 1.9 GW capacity was 34% less than the previous year’s 2.7 GW. Almost 77% of this capacity or 1.4 GW comprised large scale projects, followed by 23% or almost 440 MW rooftop solar systems.
Growth in large scale projects was driven by commercial and industrial (C&I) customers as faster turnover and fewer complications vis-à-vis make these more attractive compared to utility scale projects, explained Mercom.
Gujarat was the leading state for solar installations as 24% of large-scale capacity came online here during Q3, followed by over 19% in Karnataka and nearly 18% in Maharashtra.
With these projects at the end of September 2023, India’s total installed solar PV capacity including rooftop exceeded 69 GW, according to Mercom in its report Q3 2023 India Solar Market Update, led by Rajasthan with close to 17 GW.
India’s utility scale project pipeline stood at around 77 GW and over 68 GW of projects tendered were pending auction.
Mercom analysts see 2023 solar installations to be much lower than 2022 for which it cites a number of reasons, including challenges related to transmission connectivity and lack of clarity on application procedures under General Network Access (GNA) amended regulations for long-term access to transmission networks. Some projects still await the Supreme Court directions for transmission connectivity in Great Indian Bustard (GIB) regions.
At the same time, Mercom India’s Managing Director Priya Sanjay believes the government is going to prioritize non-renewables in the next few quarters to ensure energy security to deal with high power demand situations in the wake of reduced hydropower generation.
Nonetheless, the future is bright for solar. “It has been an underwhelming year for installations in India so far. However, barring significant negative developments, installations in 2024 should grow exponentially,” added Prabhu. “Hopefully, the market can handle the expected rush in Q1 2024 and thrive.”
The complete report can be purchased from Mercom’s website.
Recently, Indian credit ratings agency CRISIL Ratings said India is likely to install 16 GW new utility scale solar PV capacity in fiscal year 2023 thanks to falling module prices improving project IRRs (see Falling Solar Module Prices To Boost Indian Installations).