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Solar Installation Crosses 8.6 GW In India: Mercom

India currently has 14 GW of solar projects in various stages of development and another 7 GW waiting to be auctioned, according to the findings

Photo Credit : Reuters

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Cumulative solar installations in India have reached 8,643 MW as of September 2016, according to Mercom Capital Group, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm. Further to this solar capacity addition of 4.8 GW is forecasted for 2016. So far installations in 2016 have reached 3.8 GW, according to Mercom Capital Group report on Indian solar sector.

Solar installations are continuing to grow, even with a slowdown in power demand, a decline in capacity utilization among thermal projects, and the availability of cheap power on the exchanges across the country. The government's recently announced plan to develop 10 solar zones by 2021 on 10,000 hectares (24,710 acres) of government-owned or privately-owned uncultivable wasteland would encourage project development and investment and support India's ambitious 100 GW solar energy target by 2022.

Four states have crossed the one GW solar installation mark. Out of 8.6 GW installed so far, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh have had significant activity and accounts for 59 per cent of the total installation. Banks and financial institutions have allotted about? 788 billion in funding for clean energy projects, of which ?335 billion have been released as of the end of March 2016.

Apart from the positive findings, there have been concerns over the Chinese aggressive module market in India. Indian manufacturers of solar modules have already shown concerns over the price gaps and the dumping issue. The companies have been demanding protection from the government.

Evacuation delays continue to be a big problem delaying commissioning and has to be addressed immediately with deemed generation benefits. Though grid congestion is a challenge during summer months, low power demand, especially from lucrative industrial and commercial segments, is negatively affecting DISCOMs and their revenues. This has a potential to become a major problem going forward if power demand does not pick up and solar installations increase rapidly.

"The challenge is going to come next year when approximately 9 GW of solar power is forecast to be installed. Unless the 'must run' status for solar projects is strictly enforced we are going to see some challenges," said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group.

India currently has 14 GW of solar projects in various stages of development and another 7 GW waiting to be auctioned, according to the findings.


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