Installations in the Indian solar market declined by 14% in Q2 2019 reaching 1,510 MW, compared to 1,761 MW in Q1 2019. Installations were also lower year-over-year (YoY) compared to 1,665 MW in Q2 2018.

Solar installations in the first half (1H) of 2019 reached 3.2 gigawatts (GW), a decline of 35%, compared to 5.1 GW of capacity added in 1H of 2018, according to Mercom India Research’s newly released Q2 2019 India Solar Market Update.

In Q2 2019, large-scale installations totaled 1,218 MW compared to 1,498 MW in Q1 2019 and 1,250 MW installed in Q2 2018. The large-scale solar project development pipeline has increased to 22 GW. About 34 GW of solar has been tendered and was pending to be auctioned at the end of the quarter.

Rooftop installations grew by just 11% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) in Q2 2019, totaling 292 MW compared to 263 MW installed in Q1 2019. The rooftop market picked up slightly after elections but nowhere close to the pace installed last year. Rooftop installations fell by 30% YoY compared to 415 MW installed in Q2 2018.

“It has been a rough couple of quarters for the Indian solar market, exacerbated by tough lending conditions. Post elections, we expect the second half of the year to be slightly better, but the liquidity issues need to be resolved for market momentum to return,” commented Raj Prabhu, CEO, and co-founder of Mercom Capital Group.

The report attributed the drop in solar installations in Q2 2019 to a slowdown in rooftop solar installations and partial commissioning of solar projects.

Total power capacity additions in the first half of 2019 was 8 GW in India from all power generation sources. Of this, renewable energy sources accounted for nearly 58% of installations, with solar representing 41% of new capacity and wind with 15%. Coal accounted for almost 42% of new capacity added.

According to the report, India’s cumulative installed capacity stood at 31.5 GW by the end of Q2 2019. However, rooftop installations still only make up 12% of total solar installations and the country has achieved only 10% of its target capacity addition of 40 GW by 2022.

Mercom India Research forecasts India to install over 8 GW of solar capacity in the calendar year 2019. The report estimates solar installations in India to reach approximately 70 GW by the end of 2022 based on the current market dynamics.

Tariff caps imposed by government agencies have slowed down the solar auction activity in the country. Developers are reluctant to bid at the levels prescribed by state agencies, instead of a market-based auction in which the lowest bid wins.

Land acquisition, transmission, and acquiring approvals remain a challenge to commission large-scale projects on time. Developers have also raised concerns about charges for forecasting and scheduling power during drastic changes in weather conditions.

But one of the biggest concerns, which looks like is close to being addressed through the courts, is the attempted renegotiation of PPAs. “The Andhra Pradesh government’s move to renegotiate and revisit solar and wind PPAs has rattled the industry and dampened investor sentiment. The industry is waiting for a ruling from the courts that sets a precedent for future cases and makes it difficult for government agencies to cancel or renegotiate signed contracts,” added Prabhu.

Rajasthan was the top installer with newly added large-scale solar capacity in Q2 2019 followed by Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat. Large-scale solar installations were concentrated in five states, which made up 94% of the installed capacity in the quarter.

Though the current state of the market looks weak, India will continue to be one of the top three solar markets in the world. With the new government in place, the support for renewable energy is stronger than ever among policymakers.

Key Highlights from Mercom India Research’s Q2 2019 India Solar Market Update.

  • Solar installations in India in Q2 2019 totaled 1,510 MW, a 14% decrease compared to 1,761 MW installed in Q1 2019

  • In Q2 2019, large-scale installations added up to 1,218 MW (81%), while rooftop installations accounted for 292 MW (19%)

  • Cumulative installed solar capacity in India stood at 31.5 GW by the end of June 2019. Of this, cumulative rooftop solar installations amounted to 3,816 MW

  • Solar accounted for 41% of the new power capacity added in 1H 2019

  • Renewable energy capacity additions continue to increase at a significant pace in India, accounting for approximately 35.4% of India’s power capacity mix cumulatively

  • Solar electricity generation crossed 12 billion units (BUs) in Q2 2019

  • In Q2 2019, investments in the Indian solar sector totaled over $1.85 billion, 34% lower compared to investments made in Q1


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