India’s utility-scale solar installations fell by 39% in FY2021


India added about 3.5 GW of new utility-scale solar capacity in the 12 months (April 1, 2020-March 31, 2021) of FY2020-21, about 39% less than the FY2019-20 installations. Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh led large-scale solar installations, with most of the share coming from these States.

Rooftop solar posted strong deployment figures despite Covid-induced lockdown and restrictions. About 2 GW of new rooftop PV capacity was added in FY2021. Gujarat and Maharashtra together contributed nearly 50% of all rooftop solar installations in FY2021. Other states that added maximum rooftop solar capacity during the year included Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh. 

FY2022 outlook

JMK Research expects about 10 GW of new utility-scale solar capacity and 3.5 GW of new wind capacity to be installed in the current FY2022—about 25% less than its initial estimate made before the second wave of Covid-19 hit India. 

Explaining the contraction in outlook, the analysts quoted the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s recent notification dated May 12, 2021, which stated, “renewable energy projects having their commissioning dates on or after April 1, 2021, can claim extension owing to the second surge of the Covid-19 pandemic.” MNRE also mentioned that, on receipt of an application for the time extension, the implementing agency would not initiate any coercive action on the project to recover the penalty against delayed commissioning until the extended time frame is decided upon.

According to JMK Research, lockdowns imposed across several states could lead to a shortage of labor and interruptions in equipment supplies, delaying the commissioning of nearly 3-4 GW of solar and wind projects. 

It, however, forecasts rooftop solar capacity addition to exceed the FY2021 figure in the current financial year. India could add about 2.5-3 GW of rooftop solar in FY2022, it stated.

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