Solar Installations in India Reach 6.6 GW in the First Nine Months of 2018

India’s solar installations have reached 6.6 GW year-to-date with large-scale projects making up 5,382 MW and rooftop installations accounting for 1,240 MW.

Solar installations in India in Q3 2018 witnessed a slight decline with 1,589 MW, a 4 percent decrease compared to 1,659 MW installed in Q2 2018. Installations were also down about 30 percent year-over-year (YoY) compared to 2,278 MW installed in Q3 2017, according to Mercom India Research’s newly released Q3 2018 India Solar Market Update.

In Q3 2018, large-scale installations totaled 1,154 MW compared to 1,244 MW in Q2 2018 and 2,984 MW in Q1 2018. This is a 43 percent decline YoY when compared to 2,013 MW installed in Q3 2017.

Rooftop installations in Q3 2018 accounted for 435 MW, which was a 5 percent increase from 415 MW installed in Q2 2018 and a 64 percent increase compared to 265 MW installed in Q3 2017.

In Q3 2018, large-scale solar projects accounted for 73 percent and rooftop solar accounted for the other 27 percent.

“Lower installation levels were not a surprise due to a slowdown in tender and auction activity last year. The safeguard duty, lack of clarity around GST rates, and land and transmission issues have all sapped the momentum from the solar market,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO and Co-Founder of Mercom Capital Group.

Solar Installations in India Reach 6.6 GW in the First Nine Months of 2018

Cumulative solar installed capacity totaled 26 GW at the end of Q3 2018 with large-scale solar projects accounting for 89 percent and rooftop solar making up the remaining 11 percent.

Mercom India Research is forecasting solar installations of approximately 8 GW in calendar year (CY) 2018.

Chinese module average selling prices (ASPs) fell by approximately 21 percent quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) in Q3 2018 while Indian module prices declined by about 6 percent QoQ.

Solar Installations in India Reach 6.6 GW in the First Nine Months of 2018

According to the report, rooftop installations are growing steadily as project economics are making sense for commercial and industrial customers. But states are beginning to clamp down on policy support for open access projects as they see them as a threat to DISCOM revenues. Support for net-metering is still very limited and states have made it very challenging and cumbersome to qualify for net-metering.

The report added, “after a year and a half, the solar industry is still not clear as to what the actual Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates are. Land and transmission availability challenges have contributed to slower growth in large-scale projects. Rupee depreciation and higher interest rates have added to the headwinds faced by the industry.”

The expectation is for market activity to start picking up as module prices decline to below pre-safeguard duty levels.

“In the long-term, prospects for solar remain bright in the country. The energy transformation in the country continues and 2018 maybe the first year where solar makes up over 50 percent of new capacity additions. Companies need to be able to play the long game if they want to be successful in the Indian market,” said Prabhu.

Key highlights from the report:

  • Solar installations in India in Q3 2018 was around 1,589 MW, a 4 percent decrease compared to 1,659 MW installed in Q2 2018

 

  • In Q3 2018, large-scale installations totaled 1,154 MW (73 percent), while rooftop installations accounted for 435 MW (27 percent)

 

  • The cumulative solar installed capacity totaled approximately 26 GW at the end of Q3 2018 with large-scale projects accounting for 89 percent and rooftop for the other 11 percent

 

  • Cumulative rooftop solar installed capacity in India reached 2.8 GW as of Q3 2018

 

  • In Q3 2018, a total of approximately 4 GW of solar PV projects were tendered, compared to Q2 of 2018 in which over 11.5 GW were tendered

 

  • Solar represented 52.7 percent of the newly added power capacity with 6.6 GW installed in the first nine months of 2018

Pratheeksha is a Research Associate at Mercom India. Prior to Mercom, Pratheeksha was an Associate Analyst at GlobalData where she authored and published syndicated research reports in the power generation industry. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Electrical & Electronics from PESITM and Master’s degree in Electrical Power Systems from the Adichunchanagiri Institute of Technology at VTU University.