As the renewable energy sector faces a slowdown, industry representatives and experts seek a multi-dimensional policy framework from the new government to restore market confidence and put the sector back in the strong growth mode.

The renewable energy sector added less than 60 per cent (about 8600 MW) of its targeted capacity of 15,602 MW in 2018-19. This was the slowest addition in recent years. In the previous two years, the sector added new capacity to the tune of 11,000-12,000 MW annually, supported by a boom in the solar power sector.

The solar segment added just 6530 MW, including 5796 MW of ground mounted and 733 MW of rooftop, new capacity, as against the total target of 11,000 MW in 2018-19. Also, the wind segment added just about 1500 MW as against the target of 4000 MW.

While the industry is optimistic about the future potential of the sector, the imposition of safeguard duty, the GST and BIS implementation issues, project delays, tender cancellations, and policy reversals, among others, resulted in the slow growth of the sector in the recent quarters.

New capacity target

Meanwhile, the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has fixed a new capacity addition target of 11,802 MW for the current fiscal, which clearly confirms the slowdown in the clean energy sector.

The target is much lower than the target fixed in the previous fiscal and is also a scaled-down capacity compared to what was indicated earlier for this period.

India’s top wind power company Suzlon had indicated that while there was strong visibility on growth for wind power capacity addition till 2021, the sector was facing key challenges in terms of infrastructure constraints, land allocation and auction delays and also delay in permission from the Defence Ministry.

Praveer Sinha, Managing Director of Tata Power, said recently that in the past six months, there was not a single bidding for utility-scale solar project. However, he expects something like 20,000 MW of projects to be bid out in the next 2-3 months.

“The new government should lay emphasis on two fronts – one, efficient execution to pacify investor concerns and address the growing sense of crisis, and two, reforms to ensure strong foundations for the long-term growth of the sector,” said Vinay Rustagi, Managing Director, Bridge to India, a leading solar energy consulting firm.