Solar Power Accounts for 50% Capacity Addition in 2018
Solar power for the first time in India made over 50% power capacity addition in 2018 although GST, safeguard duty, and land and transmission issues took a toll on large-scale power installation to whose effect the overall Indian solar market was down 15.5% in FY18, according to Mercom India Research’s newly published report. The Indian solar market installed 8,263 MW in FY18 compared to 9,782 MW in FY17. But rooftop solar had a good year, growing 66% year-on-year (YoY). Of the total installed capacity in 2018, large-scale projects accounted for 6,608 MW, which was 23% lower than the capacity added in 2017. Rooftop installations came to 1,665 MW in 2018. Total power capacity additions from all sources was 16.3 GW in 2018, of which renewable energy accounted for nearly 70% of installations, with solar representing 50.7% of new capacity and wind with 14%. Coal accounted for 27.5% of the new capacity added. Mercom officials felt that a steady shift towards solar will continue to be seen as prices continue to drop. This is going to be the new normal as coal plants continue to shutter. In the fourth quarter of 2018, solar installations came to 1,638 MW, up 3% quarter-to-quarter from the 1,589 MW installed during the third quarter of 2018. But this was 52% lower y-o-y compared to the 2,491 MW installed in the fourth quarter of 2017. Rooftop installations in 2018 totalled 1,655 MW, a 66% growth y-o-y taking cumulative rooftop solar installations to 3,260 MW. In terms of annual growth, rooftop solar continues to be a bright spot, as commercial and industrial entities see it as a viable way to combat higher power tariffs.