Indian commercial and industrial solar sector added 501 MW of solar capacity in the first quarter (January-March period) of 2021. This included 330 MW of rooftop (on-site) solar and 171 MW open-access (off-site). The cumulative commercial and industrial solar capacity stands at 10,485 MW as on March 31, 2021, according to Bridge To India’s Q1 2021 India Corporate Renewable Brief.
Installation activity picked up slightly in Q1 in response to easing Covid-related restrictions and increasing power demand. But activity is again expected to have slowed down in Q2 due to lockdowns across most states, stated the report.
Overall C&I renewable capacity (including open-access solar, open-access wind, and rooftop solar) is estimated to have reached 17,800 MW by March 31, 2021.
C&I renewable power penetration is highest in Karnataka at 25%, followed by Tamil Nadu (23%), but growth is picking up in other states, including Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh. In response to favorable policy (in Gujarat) and higher renewable power demand from consumers, wind-solar hybrid (WSH) projects are becoming more popular.
Speaking about the report findings, Vinay Rustagi, Managing Director, Bridge To India, said, “The C&I renewable market is gaining serious momentum with consumers keen to reduce their power bills as well as carbon emissions. There is also very strong interest from investors as we continue to see leading independent power producers, private equity funds, and other institutional investors committing huge sums to this market. Corporate consumers can be a major pillar in India’s renewable growth story if the government can provide a stable and predictable policy framework.”
Market impediments vary across states. Karnataka, Punjab, and Tamil Nadu propose to limit net metering provisions for rooftop solar. Several states are imposing further ad-hoc restrictions on rooftop solar systems besides curbs on power banking provision and extra open-access charges outside the prevailing regulatory framework.
Going forward, solar addition will slow down next year as basic customs duty (BCD) of 25% on solar cells and 40% on modules from April 1, 2022 increases the cost of power by about INR 0.30/ kWh.
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