Economy

Solar PV installations down 49% at 1.7 GW in January-March, says Mercom report

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on June 04, 2019

The total solar PV installations in India was down 49 per cent in the first quarter of calendar year 2019 at 1,737 MW as against 3377 mw in the Q1 of 2018. Sequentially it was up 4 per cent over 1638 mw quarter on quarter.

A Mercom India Research’s report released on Q1 2019 India Solar Market Update shows that the rooftop installations fell by 33% year-over-year (YoY).

General elections

“Activity in the Indian solar market was generally subdued due to general elections. Auction activity also grounded to a halt during the model code of conduct period. Rooftop installations were especially affected,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group. Mercom India Research forecasts India to install approximately 9 gigawatt (GW) of solar capacity in the calendar year 2019.

The large-scale solar project development pipeline for India stands at 19.4 GW with 31.7 GW tendered and pending auctions at the end of Q1 2019. Mercom’s report estimates solar installations in India to reach 71 GW by the end of 2022, almost 30% lower than the 100 GW target set by the government. However, with an aggressive push and supportive policies, the goal is still achievable.

Bucking the trend from recent years, more new coal capacity was added compared to solar or any other generation source in Q1 2019 with 58%. Solar, which has been the most added new capacity almost every quarter over the past couple of years accounted for 32% of new capacity additions.

Capacity addition

According to the report, India’s cumulative installed capacity reached 30 GW at the end of Q1 2019. However, rooftop installations still only make up 12% of total solar installations and the country has achieved only 9% of its targeted rooftop capacity addition of 40 GW by 2022. Tariff caps have been another contentious issue as government agencies have been cancelling auctions after they have been conducted and winners announced. This has led to a lack of interest in some of the recent auctions. Over 800 MW of solar auctions were cancelled in Q1.

In Q1 2019, investments in the Indian solar sector totalled over $2.8 billion, 12% lower compared to investments made in Q1 2018. Cumulative installed solar capacity in India reached 30 GW at the end of March 2019. Of this, cumulative rooftop solar installations amounted to 3.5 GW. Over 12 GW of solar was tendered, and 3 GW was auctioned in Q1. Mercom forecasts India to install approximately 9 GW of solar capacity in the calendar year 2019. Solar accounted for 32% of the new power capacity added in Q1 2019

Published on June 04, 2019

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