India solar installations plummet to 1.7GW in Q2, down 58% YoY

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Solar PV accounted for 43% of all new power capacity added during H1 2023 in India. Image: ReNew Power.

Continuing a downward trend of capacity additions, India has added 1.7GW of solar capacity in the second quarter of 2023, according to consultancy Mercom India Research.

Extensions granted to several large-scale solar projects have caused a decrease in solar installations during Q2 2023, according to Priya Sanjay, managing director at Mercom India. Among these is the commissioning extension until March 2024 from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) for several solar and solar-wind hybrid projects.

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Ongoing solar supply issues have also aggravated the speed at which the country installs solar projects during Q2 2023, along with uncertainties around the Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM).

Source: Mercom India Research.

Numbers are down more than half (58%) compared with the same period last year when it added 4GW of solar PV in Q2 2022, while being down 10% from the previous quarter. Total additions for the first half of the year sit at 3.6GW for solar PV, a decrease of 53% compared to the same period last year. However, solar PV accounted for 43% of all new power capacity added during H1 2023.

Moreover, the majority of the capacity additions during Q2 2023 came from large-scale with 1.3GW of installations from that segment.

“Delays, extensions, and postponements have led to a substantial number of solar projects being deferred to the next year, making 2023 a year of setbacks for solar in India. Consequently, 2024 looks extremely robust. Rapidly declining solar component and project costs will be a catalyst for additional growth,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group.

Due to all these setbacks and low figures for H1 2023, Mercom expects India to install less solar capacity in 2023 than the record 13GW in 2022.

In terms of pipeline, India has more than 67GW of utility-scale solar projects in development as of June 2023, with 62GW of projects tendered awaiting auction.

India has been underperforming for a while now and for a fourth quarter in a row has seen its installations decrease with Q2 2023 results as the lowest numbers since Q4 2020. The country had a target of 100GW of solar capacity installed by 2022 but has only recently reached 70GW according to the MNRE earlier this month.

Rajasthan continues to be the leading state in terms of total installed capacity with nearly 18GW as of the end of Q2 2023, followed by Karnataka and Gujarat closing the podium. In terms of capacity additions during Q2 2023, Gujarat has led the country in installations during that quarter, followed by Rajasthan.

Pipeline of solar PV across states in India as of the end of 2022.

Despite India’s push to onshore a domestic solar manufacturing industry, with the launch of a Production Linked Incentive (PLI) – which awarded nearly 40GW of nameplate capacity in its second round – and a basic customs duty (BCD) implemented in April 2022, the country has not yet been able to meet the targets it set itself and continues to underperform for the fourth quarter in a row.

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