The country’s total solar energy capacity stood at 27.4 GW, including 23.2 GW utility-scale solar, 3.4 GW rooftop solar and 0.8 GW off-grid solar, at the end of September, according to a report released on Tuesday.
Total installation in 2018-19, however, is expected to decline by 55 per cent to 4.1 GW over the previous year and well short of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s annual target of 16 GW, the report by BRIDGE TO INDIA said.
The country added total utility-scale solar capacity of 1.2 GW in July-September, taking capacity addition to 1.9 GW in the first half of 2018-19.
These numbers are down 43 per cent and 44 per cent over respective periods a year ago. Leading developers to add capacity in the quarter were Softbank (400 MW) and Acme (300 MW). As much as 55 per cent of new capacity addition came up in Rajasthan, it said.
Speaking about the slowdown, Vinay Rustagi, Managing Director, BRIDGE TO INDIA, said, “Indian solar market has grown spectacularly over last four years but is struggling to sustain because of policy and execution challenges. The slowdown is worrying for all stakeholders.
“We are witnessing increasing volatility in tender issuance, auctions and capacity addition because of poor coordination between different government agencies and constraints in transmission capacity and land acquisition.”
He further said, “The MNRE has not helped matters by failing to decisively address GST and safeguard duty issues. Arbitrary ceiling tariffs and poor tender design have resulted in tenders getting routinely cancelled and/ or undersubscribed.
“As a result, gap between tenders issued and auctions completed has been widening for a year. Our revised best-case estimate for solar capacity by March 2022 is 67 GW, well short of the 100 GW target unless decisive remedial steps are taken immediately.
However, the study said that one bright spot in the solar market is rooftop solar, which is growing at a robust 70 per cent annually. Unaffected by policy uncertainty and not reliant on land or transmission infrastructure, this market is benefiting from sharp fall in module prices — down 30 per cent in the past nine months, it added.