Solar capacity addition in Jan-March fastest since 2019 – Times of India

NEW DELHI: India added 2,056 MW (megawatt) of solar power capacity – or roughly 2% of the total existing capacity — in the January-March period, marking the fastest quarterly growth in a calendar year since the July-September period of 2019.
According to the latest solar update from green market tracker Mercom Research, the capacity addition in the January-March period marked nearly 37% increase from 1,505 MW added in the preceding three-month period. Compared to year-ago, the capacity addition during the quarter under review was 88% higher than 1,090 MW added in 2020.
The report said the pace of expansion was boosted by a spillover of last year’s delayed projects getting completed during the period under review. In addition, commercial and industrial businesses rushing to install rooftop solar, taking advantage of cost savings during challenging market conditions, also supported the pace of capacity expansion.
“Due to the targeted lockdowns, this time around, disruptions and labour issues are not as widespread as last year. However, most of the lockdowns are in important solar states like Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh which will significantly impact installation totals this year,” the report quoted Mercom Capital Group CEO Raj Prabhu as saying.
According to the report, cumulative solar installations reached 41 GW (gigawatt) at the end of March. Of this, 35.5 GW were from large-scale projects, and 5.4 GW were from rooftop solar installations. India’s large-scale solar project development pipeline stands at 53.6 GW along with 24.1 GW of projects tendered and pending auction.
The report said the addition of large-scale solar capacity was 43% higher at 1,749 MW in the first three months of this year from the preceding three months, while rooftop projects increased 8% to 307 MW.
“With the second wave of the pandemic hitting the country, the industry is battling solar component price increases and volatility. Even more concerning is the uncertainty in procurement as shortages are widespread. Policy restrictions and duties have added to the rising costs and unpredictability,” the update quoted.
The report said prices of solar modules have risen sharply along with other components, including iron, copper, aluminium, and steel. Freight charges are high all over the world and there is a widespread dearth of shipping containers. The shortage and availability of solar glass and backsheets too continue to be a challenge.
The report forecasts solar installations of approximately 7 GW this year in a medium-case scenario as project timelines get extended due to the second Covid wave.

May 28, 2021 Mary Sparks