Solar Installations In India Surpass 8.6 GW, Says Mercom

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Cumulative solar installations in India have surpassed 8.6 GW as of September 2016, according to new figures published by Mercom.

Further, Mercom is predicting that India’s solar installations for 2016 are expected to reach 4.8 GW, which would bring India’s total cumulative install of solar up to 10.1 GW.

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Nearly 500 MW of new solar capacity has been installed in September, with four separate Indian states crossing the 1 GW threshold. Specifically, out of the total 8.6 GW installed across the country, the states of Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh have each had significant activity, and currently account for 59% of total installations.

The future for solar in India installations is bright as well, with 14 GW of solar projects in various stages of development, and yet another 7 GW waiting to be auctioned.

However, even though solar installations continue to grow in the country, India must deal with “a slowdown in power demand, a decline in capacity utilization among thermal projects, and the availability of cheap power on the power exchanges across the country.”

“The challenge is going to come next year when approximately 9 GW of solar power is forecast to be installed,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group. “Unless the ‘must run’ status for solar projects is strictly enforced we are going to see some challenges.”

There are significant concerns over the future of solar generation in India, considering that large swathes of newly installed generation across a wide variety of technologies are not necessarily being connected to the grid, with many lying idle waiting for connection, or facing grid issues. Massive infrastructure updates are required in the country, regardless of whether it proceeds with the masses of coal or solar that are currently planned. A recent report showed that 94% of India’s planned coal capacity will be sitting idle in 2022, and similar issues might face the future of solar installations if demand is not there, or grid connection issues are not dealt with.


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Joshua S Hill

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