Indian solar installations totaled 2,247 MW in Q3 2017, up 300 MW from Q2 according to the new report »India Solar Market Update« by Mercom India Research. »However, like in the preceding quarter, many project commissioning dates were delayed with many postponed to next year,« says the consultancy. Approximately 1 GW of large-scale projects with construction completed have not yet been officially commissioned due to grid connection and evacuation delays caused by government agencies.
In the third quarter, large-scale solar projects accounted for 1,982 MW, while rooftop installations accounted for the remaining 265 MW. In the first three quarters of calendar year 2017, solar installations totaled 7.1 GW. The pipeline of utility-scale projects is currently around 11.5 GW and another 5.6 GW of tenders are pending auction.
According to Mercom, challenges in Q3 were factors such as Chinese module prices, the pending anti-dumping case, PPA renegotiations in some states, issues surrounding incomplete infrastructure and evacuation. The biggest challenge now facing the sector is rising Chinese module prices. »For the first time in many years Chinese module ASPs increased in price by 14 percent in Q3 2017 compared to Q2 2017,« says the report. Another factor is the confusion about the Goods and Services Taxes (GST), set by the Government. The 5 percent rate set for solar modules is the only component rate that has any clarity. GST rates for other components vary from 18 percent to 28 percent, »but neither solar companies nor government regulators can clearly say which components attract what rate.« Therefore it is difficult »to model bid prices without knowing what the exact tax rate is.« These factors »led to a slowdown in installations and tender and auction activity.«
With approximately 612 MW of solar installations during the period, Telangana surpassed Andhra Pradesh to become the state with most solar installations with a cumulative total of about 2.5 GW. Telangana was closely followed by Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan, which each have cumulative installed capacities slightly greater than 2 GW. These three states together represent approximately 43 percent of the country’s total installed large-scale solar capacity.
The report forecasts that total solar installations in India will range from 9.5 GW to 10 GW in the full calendar year 2017 and approximately 7 GW in 2018.