India has added 2,247 MW of photovoltaic (PV) capacity in the third quarter of 2017 but activity there is seen to slow down and lead to weaker-than-expected fourth quarter, according Mercom India Research.
The sector consultancy said on Tuesday on releasing its quarterly update on the local solar market that newly-installed solar parks in India will stand at 9.5 GW and 10 GW, as compared to its previous forecast for about 10 GW. New installations for 2018 are seen at 7 GW, reflecting the overall downward trend caused by the challenging conditions on the solar market. Mercom explained that the rising prices of Chinese PV modules, certain infrastructure and power evacuation issues and the renegotiation of power purchase agreements (PPAs) terms in line with the record-low level of solar tariffs have all caused tender and auction activity to decrease.
“Even though the Indian solar market is on pace for a record-breaking year, the momentum has definitely slowed,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group. He added that the commissioning of many projects has been delayed and almost 1 GW of large-scale PV parks stay on hold, waiting to be grid-connected.
According to Prabhu, the last quarter of the year will be “crucial” for India’s solar sector, in view of the pending recommendation for the imposition of anti-dumping duties against solar cell imports from China, Taiwan and Malaysia and low power demand. Although the anti-dumping recommendation will most likely affect future forecasts for the sector, solar remains the leading new power generation source in the country, Mercom noted.
New PV installations accounted for 39% of India’s total power capacity additions in the first three quarters of the year, representing a total of 7.1 GW. In the third quarter alone, they rose by 300 MW sequentially to 2,247 MW. Of these, large-scale plants totalled 1,982 MW, while 265 MW came from rooftop solar plants.
At present, India has around 11.5 GW of utility-scale projects in the pipeline and an additional 5.6 GW of capacity pending to be auctioned.
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