India’s Solar Market Reports Addition of 1,589 MW in Q3 2018

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India’s solar installations accounted for 6.6 GW in the first nine months of 2018 and according to Mercom, 8GW solar power will be installed in CY2018   

India’s solar market has installed 1,589 MW in the third quarter of 2018. According to Mercom’s latest report, installations have declined by 4 per cent compared to 1,659 MW in Q2 2018.

It said that installations recorded a lower year-over-year (YoY) compared to 2,278 MW installed in Q3 2017. Large-scale installations were recorded at 1,154 MW compared to 1,244 MW in the previous quarter.

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Rooftop Installations

The report found that rooftop installations grew 5 per cent quarter-over-quarter in the third quarter to about 435 MW compared to 415 MW installed in Q2 2018. Rooftop installations increased by 64 per cent YoY compared to 265 MW installed in Q3 2017.

Rajasthan emerged as the top state for large-scale installations with a newly added solar capacity of over 600 MW, followed by Odisha and Telangana in Q3 2018. Together these three states made up approximately 70 per cent of large-scale installations in the quarter.

Challenges of solar industry

Raj Prabhu, CEO and Co-Founder, Mercom Capital Group cited the slowdown in tender and auction activities as the main reasons behind the lower installation levels. “The safeguard duty, lack of clarity around GST rates and land and transmission issues have all sapped the momentum from the solar market,” he added.

The Indian solar industry is trying to recover from the safeguard duty announcement. “An acceptable tariff for both project developers and government agencies has been an ongoing challenge since the inception of India’s solar program,” said Prabhu.

Solar auctions

An analysis from the report reveals that approximately 4 GW of solar auctions has been cancelled by multiple agencies this year. The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) had introduced a tariff ceiling which had capped tariff levels that developers could bid for.

Solar industry unclear

The report said that after a year and a half, the solar industry was yet to be clear as to what the actual Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates are. Land and transmission availability challenges were highlighted as major blocks in the installation of large-scale projects. It added, “Rupee depreciation and higher interest rates have added to the headwinds faced by the industry.”

The solar industry represented 53 per cent of the newly added power capacity with 6.6 GW installed in the first nine months of 2018. Renewables comprise approximately 21 per cent of India’s total installed capacity, with solar accounting for about 7.5 per cent. Among renewables, solar accounts for approximately 35 per cent of the installed capacity.

Mercom forecasts solar installations of approximately 8 GW for calendar year (CY) 2018.

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