Solar Installations in India Reach 6.6 GW in the First Nine Months of 2018 Solar represented 53 percent of newly added power capacity in 9M 2018.. India’s solar installations have reached 6.6 GW year-to-date with large-scale projects making up 5,382 MW and rooftop installations accounting for 1,240 MW. Solar installations in India in Q3 2018 witnessed a slight decline with 1,589 MW, a 4 percent decrease compared to 1,659 MW installed in Q2 2018. Installations were also down about 30 percent year-over-year (YoY) compared to 2,278 MW installed in Q3 2017, according to Mercom India Research’s newly released Q3 2018 India Solar Market Update. In Q3 2018, large-scale installations totaled 1,154 MW compared to 1,244 MW in Q2 2018 and 2,984 MW in Q1 2018. This is a 43 percent decline YoY when compared to 2,013 MW installed in Q3 2017. Rooftop installations in Q3 2018 accounted for 435 MW, which was a 5 percent increase from 415 MW installed in Q2 2018 and a 64 percent increase compared to 265 MW installed in Q3 2017. In Q3 2018, large-scale solar projects accounted for 73 percent and rooftop solar accounted for the other 27 percent. “Lower installation levels were not a surprise due to a slowdown in tender and auction activity last year. The safeguard duty, lack of clarity around GST rates, and land and transmission issues have all sapped the momentum from the solar market,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO and Co-Founder of Mercom Capital Group.
Cumulative solar installed capacity totaled 26 GW at the end of Q3 2018 with large-scale solar projects accounting for 89 percent and rooftop solar making up the remaining 11 percent. Mercom India Research is forecasting solar installations of approximately 8 GW in calendar year (CY) 2018. Chinese module average selling prices (ASPs) fell by approximately 21 percent quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) in Q3 2018 while Indian module prices declined by about 6 percent QoQ. According to the report, rooftop installations are growing steadily as project economics are making sense for commercial and industrial customers. But states are beginning to clamp down on policy support for open access projects as they see them as a threat to DISCOM revenues. Support for net-metering is still very limited and states have made it very challenging and cumbersome to qualify for net-metering. The expectation is for market activity to start picking up as module prices decline to below pre-safeguard duty levels.. "In the long-term, prospects for solar remain bright in the country. The energy transformation in the country continues and 2018 maybe the first year where solar makes up over 50 percent of new capacity additions. Companies need to be able to play the long game if they want to be successful in the Indian market," said Prabhu..