In the first quarter of 2019, India added 2.48 GW of new solar capacity, taking the nation’s cumulative total to roughly 31.5 GW by the end of March. Of the new additions, 1.89 GW came from utility-scale solar and 590 MW from rooftop solar, according to Bridge to India’s latest report, India Solar Compass Q1 2019.
While installations jumped significantly up from the preceding quarter, they still fell year on year. Going forward, capacity additions will likely pick up over the next two years, with a strong pipeline of 18.4 GW as of March 31.
In the first quarter, 19 new utility-scale PV tenders were held for 15.7 GW of capacity, up 2% from the previous quarter. About 295 MW of rooftop solar capacity was tendered over the same period, up an impressive 354% from the three months to the end of December 2019.
A total of 3.7 GW of capacity was auctioned off in the end, with winning tariffs hovering in the range of $0.036 to $0.042/kWh. However, PV module prices firmed up by 10% to $0.22 per watt, increasing the financial burden for developers.
The Indian government announced several new schemes in the first quarter to promote rooftop solar, agricultural solar and domestic manufacturing. Meanwhile, states continued to reverse their policy stances on rooftop solar and open access. Policy reversals have also added to the woes of developers in the commercial and industrial sector.
The Indian solar industry expects the new government to bring in a wave of reforms, with the aim of resolving issues related to land acquisition, network connectivity, delayed payments and tender cancellations.