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Solar accounted for over 50 per cent of new power capacity; rooftop solar grew by 66 per cent

In 2018, investments in the Indian solar sector totalled over $9.84 billion
The domestic solar market saw an addition of 8,263 MW during 2018 — down 15.5 per cent compared to 9,782 MW in 2017.
This was mainly due to safeguard duty, GST issues, and land and transmission issues which took a toll on large-scale installations, according to Mercom India Research’s Q4 and Annual 2018 India Solar Market Update.
Total power capacity additions were 16.3 GW in 2018 across all generation sources. Of this, renewable energy accounted for nearly 70 per cent, with solar representing 50.7 per cent of new capacity and wind 14 per cent. Coal accounted for 27.5 per cent of new capacity added. “For the first time, solar made up over 50 per cent of new power capacity in 2018. We will continue to see a steady shift toward solar as prices continue to drop. This is going to be the new normal as coal plants continue to shutter,” said Raj Prabhu, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and co-founder of Mercom Capital Group.
In Q4 2018, solar installations came to 1,638 MW, up three per cent quarter-over-quarter (1,589 MW)during Q3 2018, but 52 per cent lower year-on-year (YoY) (2,491 MW) installed in Q4 2017.
The rooftop installations in 2018 totalled 1,655 MW, which is a 66-per cent growth year-over-year. Cumulative rooftop solar installations have reached 3,260 MW. In terms of annual growth, rooftop solar continues to be a bright spot, as commercial and industrial entities see rooftop solar as a viable way to combat higher power tariffs.
Financing rooftop installations could be challenging in 2019 as banks are facing a liquidity crunch with many hitting their exposure limits in the power sector. The report found that solar parks continue to face issues in providing clearly demarcated, ready land for project development, delaying on largescale projects.
The market is adjusting to the safeguard duty regime, but much will depend on Chinese solar policy and installation goals going forward. Increase in its installation targets will tighten supplies and harden module prices while a reduction will cause oversupply and module price declines.
“Tariff caps and retroactive cancellation of solar auctions have been the biggest concerns in the investment community,” added Prabhu.
In 2018, investments in the Indian solar sector totalled over $9.84 billion, 15 per cent lower compared to the previous year.
The year was highlighted by 11 mega tenders of 1 GW or more.