Solar installations in India in Q2 2018 declined significantly with 1,599 MW, a 52 percent decrease compared to 3,344 MW installed in Q1 2018. Installations were also down by 21 percent year-over-year (YoY) compared to 2,025 MW installed in Q2 2017, according to Mercom India Research’s newly released Q2 2018 India Solar Market Update.
In Q2 2018, large-scale installations totaled 1,184 MW compared to 2,954 MW in Q1 2018 and 1,800 MW in Q2 2017. Rooftop installations accounted for 415 MW, up 6 percent compared to the 390 MW installed in the previous quarter and up 84 percent compared to 225 MW installed in Q2 2017. In Q2 2018, large-scale solar projects accounted for 74 percent and rooftop solar accounted for the other 26 percent.
“The solar installation decline in Q2 2018 after four consecutive quarters of growth was expected and can be attributed to uncertainties around trade cases, module price fluctuations, and PPA renegotiations after record low bids which contributed to the tender and auction slowdown in 2017. All of this resulted in a weaker project pipeline for 2018,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO and Co-Founder of Mercom Capital Group.
Cumulative solar installed capacity totaled 24.6 GW at the end of Q2 2018 with large-scale solar projects accounting for 90 percent and rooftop solar making up the remaining 10 percent.
Mercom India Research is forecasting solar installations of approximately 8.3 GW in calendar year (CY) 2018. The forecasted decline for solar installations in 2018 is mostly in large-scale projects due to the lack of a strong project pipeline. Tender activity cratered after the lowest tariffs were reached in the Bhadla auction in May last year as government agencies started expecting other bids to go down to the ₹2.44 (~$0.03499)/kWh tariff level reached in the Bhadla auction.
Chinese module average selling prices (ASPs) fell by approximately 5 percent quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) to $0.33 (~₹22.58)/W in Q2 2018 from $0.346 (~₹23.68)/W in Q1 2018. Indian module prices meanwhile have declined by about 9 percent QoQ.
Along with the drop in module ASPs, project costs also declined QoQ. According to Mercom India Research estimates, large-scale project costs have dropped below ₹40 million (~$572,473)/MW for the first time. Project costs are approximately 10 percent cheaper if they are in a solar park. As higher efficiency mono PERC modules gain traction, the land requirement has also reduced adding to cost savings. Rooftop project costs declined QoQ also due to cheaper modules and balance of systems (BoS).
Solar installations in 2019 is forecasted to be flat, largely due to lack of auctions and the new guidelines by MNRE which allows for 24 months to commission a project of 250 MW and above and 21 months to commission a project of 250 MW or below. Over 1 GW of large-scale projects will have their commissioning dates moved from 2019 to 2020.
“Due to uncertainty around the safeguard duty, auction activity in the first half of 2018 was weak, which will result in a smaller large-scale project pipeline for 2019. The market is expected to freeze for 3-6 months following the safeguard duty announcement,” said Prabhu.
Rooftop installations have been growing robustly so far but are expected to slow down until module prices decrease after the safeguard duty impact wears off. Rooftop is extremely cost sensitive and an increase in project costs will slow down the installations. However, the market is expected to start growing again once module prices decline and negate the safeguard duty impact.
Key Highlights from the report:
- Solar installations in India in Q2 2018 were at its lowest level since Q1 of 2017 with 1,599 MW, a 52 percent decrease compared to 3,344 MW installed in Q1 2018.
- In Q2 2018, large-scale installations totaled 1,184 MW (74%), while rooftop installations accounted for 415 MW (26%).
- Cumulative solar installed capacity totaled ~24.6 GW at the end of Q2 2018.
- Cumulative rooftop solar installed capacity in India reached 2.4 GW as of Q2 2018.
- Large-scale project costs declined below ₹4 crore (~$572,473)/MW for the first time.
- Solar represented 44 percent of the newly added power capacity with 4.9 GW installed in 1H 2018.
- Renewables comprise ~21 percent of India’s total installed capacity, with solar accounting for ~7 percent.
For the complete report, click here
Image credit: Azure Power