Solar power project installations in India during January to June period fell by 59 per cent over corresponding period last year. According to data compiled by Mercom India Research, owing to lockdown due to Covid, India added 205 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity during April-June period 2020, an 81 per cent decline compared to 1,090 MW installed in January-March 2020 period.
The decline is worrisome given that the deadline for meeting the ambitious target of 175 Gw of renewable capacity is barely two years away. Out of the targeted capacity by the Centre, solar power is estimated to contribute 100 GW by 2022.
"Large-scale installations during April-June were 120 MW compared to 896 MW installed in first three months of 2020. Compared to the capacity addition during April-June in 2019, large-scale installations decreased by about 90 per cent," Mercom said.
However, there are currently 41.7 GW of large-scale projects under development, "giving the industry a glimmer of hope for recovery", said the research agency. There are also another 32.4 GW of projects tendered and awaiting auction, according to Mercom.
“Solar project construction activity came to a standstill in Q2 (April-June) as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted every aspect of the economy. Labor availability was one of the biggest challenges for large-scale projects. With monsoons setting in, we may have to wait until Q4 (October-December) for the activity to pick up,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group.
Mercom India Research has forecast approximately 4 GW of solar to be added in calender year 2020.
The report also said during the downturn, almost 70 per cent of the new power capacity additions came from solar and wind in the first half of the year, which is a positive sign for the industry.