The Coronavirus crisis in China will likely have far-reaching ramifications across the world as manufacturing has slowed down sharply. Among the various sectors likely to feel the pinch of this spreading disease is the solar power sector.
Among the fastest growing solar power markets in the world is India, and developers there are staring at delays of several of months for delivery of plant equipment. Multiple developers have told news agencies that they have been warned of delays and that this would push back the commissioning of projects.
India plans to achieve 100 gigawatts of operational solar power capacity milestone by December 2022. At the end of 2019 the country had an installed capacity of 34 gigawatts, leaving a gap of 66 gigawatts to be filled in 36 months.
According to multiple international news sources, most Chinese solar equipment manufacturers have yet to reopen facilities at the extended break over Lunar New Year. Like several other major solar power markets, India has a large dependence on Chinese products.
An analysis by PV Magazine showed that China accounted for 78% of all solar cells and modules imported into India. China remains a highly dominant suppliers of solar cells and modules despite the safeguard duty levied by the Indian government. Before the safeguard duty was in place, China’s share of Indian imports was higher than 90%.
Several observers claim that slowdown in manufacturing is only a part of several potential delays in the entire supply chain. Increased screening could delay shipments at ports as well.
Shipment delays isn’t the only potential headache for developers. Long-term shutdown of manufacturing facilities could drive prices of raw materials and modules impacting financials of projects.
In this time of crisis the developers are expected to turn to the government for some relief. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has told media agencies that delays due to COVID-19 shall be treated as a force majeure event and that relief will be provided to affected developers.
Even before the COVID-19 spread India had been struggling to keep pace with the installation targets. The country now faces a tough task to even achieve a sizeable portion of the said target by the set deadline.