India set for ‘massive jump’ in installed PV next year

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India is primed for a “massive jump” in its solar PV installations next year, with the 8.7GW of projects now under development nearly double the current installed capacity of around 4.7GW, according to the latest analysis from consultancy firm Bridge to India.

Discussing the firm’s new ‘India Solar Map 2015’, Gayrajan Kohli, senior manager, consulting, for Bridge to India, told PV Tech that the majority of the projects under development will be completed next year, which is well ahead of the firm’s previous expectations. In its ‘India Solar Handbook 2015’ released in June, the company forecast that just 4.35GW of rooftop and utility-scale solar would be installed in 2016.

Furthermore, there are now also nearly 4.1GW of solar tenders in progress.

For the moment, the south Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are set to dominate new additions in the market, overtaking Gujarat and Rajasthan, which have plateaued, Kohli said. While Gujarat and Rajasthan have been issuing plenty of tenders and allocations, they are not as competitive or aggressive as those in the south. Even though Rajasthan has a huge target of 25GW, it will need to start announcing new allocations swiftly by 2016-17 to be able to keep up with the southern states.

Bridge to India found that the country's top-10 project developers hold a 34% share in total installations in India. Kohli said international developers are taking up a slightly higher market share than expected as they have become more aggressive in the market, having started out more conservatively.

He added: “Now they have experienced how India works and […] have an understanding of the Indian context, they are able to aggressively bid for various projects and win them. At the same time, a lot of the international developers have the capability of accessing low cost finance, which may not be true for all the Indian developers.”

For example, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) introduced dollar-based tariff bidding to encourage foreign investment in the sector by reducing the foreign exchange risk. Meanwhile local business newspaper LiveMint reported today that India may introduce Japanese yen-based bidding ahead of the much anticipated National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) tender, which may be related to Japanese firm SoftBank planning to invest US$20 billion in Indian solar projects through a joint venture with Bharti Enterprises Ltd and Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group called SBG Cleantech.

So far this year Azure Power commissioned more projects than any other developer in India, meanwhile Acme is set to displace Welspun Renewables as the country’s largest solar developer.

Acme, Welspun, Adani, SunEdison and Renew led the top 15 private project developers in terms of pipelines as of September 2015 (see graph above).

For module suppliers, First Solar has reclaimed its number one position having had a slow 2014. Kohli said the US-based firm was affected by uncertainty around anti-dumping duties with the US and India battling in a World trade Organization (WTO) dispute last year. Meanwhile, Indian developers were also looking for modules that were made in India. Chinese- and Indian-made modules have shot up in recent years, but this year First Solar has been able to compete with the rest of the market.

The use of thin-film modules in Indian projects increased to 29% this year, up from just 10% in 2014, which is a direct correlation with First Solar’s increase in supply, said Kohli.

Aggressive moves from new players ReneSola, Chint and CSUN in the module supplier sector have helped them claim a bigger market share, while Waaree, Emmvee and Vikram are rising fast in the Indian module supplier category with Tata remaining a strong player despite a “management shakedown”.

Bridge to India also ranked inverter suppliers in India with ABB staying on top. Meanwhile Mahindra Susten rose to the head of EPC contractors.

Kohli said that there is a trend for module suppliers to integrate engineering, procurement and construction into their services to increase their market share. Integrating these services helps project developers control costs and reduce the overall cost of the project.

In other news this week, energy minister Piyush Goyal urged the US to help India ahcieve its renewable energy vision of 175GW capacity by 2022, including 100GW solar, at a meeting attended by SunEdison, First Solar and SunPower.

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