It added that the total utility scale, rooftop solar, and off-grid solar capacity stood at 32,176 MW, 5,740 MW and 978 MW, respectively, while the total project pipeline stood at 28,972 MW as on 31 March 2020
New Delhi: India added only 989 megawatt (MW) of solar power generation capacity in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020 due to COVID-19 disruption, taking the total installed capacity to 37,916 MW by 31 March 2020, according to a latest report.
It added that 1,864 MW of utility scale solar capacity was scheduled to be commissioned in Q1 2020.
“Actual completion at 689 MW, comprising 19 projects split between central government tenders of 257 MW, state government tenders of 415 MW, and other projects of 18 MW capacity were far below the estimate partly due to COVID-19 related disruption,” said the report titled ‘India Solar Compass Q1 2020’ by clean energy consultancy Bridge to India.
According to the report, the new capacity addition was split 70:30 between utility scale solar – 689 MW and rooftop solar – 300 MW.
It added that the total utility scale, rooftop solar, and off-grid solar capacity stood at 32,176 MW, 5,740 MW and 978 MW, respectively, while the total project pipeline stood at 28,972 MW as on 31 March 2020.
The government had imposed complete lockdown in commercial and business activity starting 25 March. Project construction was allowed to commence from 20 April but significant slippage in commissioning progress was likely because of constraints in equipment and labour availability, it added.
“We expect progress to be very slow in Q2 and Q3 2020 with capacity addition of only 500 MW and 1,184 MW, respectively,” said Bridge to India in its report.
According to the report, rooftop solar has also been hit badly with only 300 MW of estimated capacity addition in the busiest quarter of the year.
“This market may take longer to recover as consumers prioritise core business operations and conserve cash in view of the economic uncertainty. Our revised estimate for rooftop solar capacity addition over Q2 and Q3 is 360 MW,” it said.
Power demand had begun to inch up gradually in January and February but then fell by as much as 25-30 per cent towards the end of March as the lockdown took effect. It added that if demand remains depressed then renewable power prospects would be seriously affected.
Despite the execution slowdown, tender issuance in Q1 was high with SECI issuing 9,414 MW of tenders. Total tender issuance and auctions during the quarter stood at 14,293 MW and 8,241 MW, respectively, the report added.