India is projected to reach solar and wind power capacity of 82GW and 53GW respectively by the end of 2024 assuming a largely status-quo policy environment, according to a new report by consultancy Bridge to India.
As per the chart above, this includes nearly 50GW of utility-scale solar, nearly 16GW of rooftop PV and more than 6.5GW of open-access solar.
In its 'India Renewables Outlook 2024 report', Bridge to India pointed at three major variables affecting future trajectory for renewable power. These include policy support, power demand growth and thermal power plant load factors (PLFs). Policy friction between central and state governments was highlighted as a major drawback.
Stagnation takes hold amid tricky execution and financing
Looking at the present-day picture more closely, Bridge to India stated that “mega tenders are being pushed but actual progress is stagnating”. Policy, execution and financial pressures have slowed sector activity and raised concerns about the viability of projects under development.
The Indian government's rhetoric over renewable energy targets is still seen as too ambitious; Bridge to India went as far as to say that the narrative is “usually too zealous, self-seeking and/ or lacking in intellectual rigour”.
Nonetheless, the overall scene remains promising with solar and wind now by far the two cheapest greenfield power sources, with penetration growing from 3% to 10% in the last five years.
Key trends ahead
According to Bridge to India, tariffs are expected to resume their downward trajectory due to technology improvements and competition. Tenders are likely to become more complex, however, with increasing numbers of manufacturing-linked tenders, solar-wind-storage hybrid tenders and even technology-agnostic tenders seeking round-the-clock power.
Energy storage growth potential is “huge” but the major growth spurt is still deemed to be a few years away, the consultancy's report said.
Commercial and industrial (C&I) solar – which has so far dominated the rooftop sector in India – will come up against increasing competition from the distribution companies (Discoms), while residential solar, in contrast, will start to pick up due to clearer policies and availability of financing.
Bridge to India described prospects for Indian PV manufacturers as staying “bleak”, and as reported by PV Tech this week, there is anticipation of a new customs duty coming in to replace the safeguard duty later this year.
Bridge to India's projections for the year-by-year growth of the country's renewables sector up to 2024 are shown below: