India’s solar market expected to grow by 90 per cent
The year gone by was certainly rewarding for the Indian solar sector as key indicators grew around 2-3 times in 2016. India added around 4.9 GW of solar capacity, an increase of 101 percent over 2015 and crossed the 10 GW cumulative installed capacity mark and the rooftop solar segment also crossed 1 GW in September, 2016 which is a 135 percent jump 2015. 2017 packs a lot of promise as the industry starts with an order pipeline of around 14 GW of utility scale projects, out of which 7.7 GW is expected to be commissioned in the year, a growth of around 90 percent over 2016. Market research firm Bridge to India says that combined with 1.1 GW of expected rooftop solar capacity, India should add a total of 8.8 GW in 2017, ranking it amongst the top three global markets after China and the USA. On the policy front, impact of central government policies related to manufacturing, power distribution (UDAY) and implementation of GST is awaited keenly. “There has been some concerns about weak power demand growth in India and growing incidence of grid curtailment and what it means for growth of solar power. Demonetisation may also impact power demand negatively. But we believe that continuing reduction in module prices and downward trend in domestic interest rates will provide strong ongoing demand impetus to the market,” says Vinay Rustagi, MD, Bridge to India in the report.
“Solar tariffs are expected to fall below the critical Rs 4.00 (USD 0.06)/ kWh mark making solar power the cheapest new source of power. At the same time, improving financial health of power distribution companies due to UDAY implementation will also help in sustaining renewable energy demand in particular. We expect sustainable demand of 6-8 GW for utility scale solar in the coming years,” he said.