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India added 935MW of private-contract backed solar in first nine months of 2021

That meant the nation reached a cumulative 4.8GW of “open-access” solar generation capacity by the end of September. At that point, there were also more than 1.1GW of open access projects in the development pipeline, according to analyst Mercom India Solar.

From pv magazine India

The nine months to the end of September saw India install 935MW of open-access solar generation capacity – built by developers to meet the needs of private, usually corporate customers, with the electricity ‘wheeled’ to clients via the state grid.

That figure, published today by U.S.-based analyst Mercom India Solar in its latest survey of the Indian open-access market, represented a 143% increase on the 385MW added in the same period a year earlier. It meant India reached a cumulative 4.8GW of open-access solar by the end of September, the analyst said.

The Mercom report stated India added 307MW of open-access solar capacity in the July-to-September period alone, to mark 85% year-over-year growth compared with the 166MW added in the same period of 2020. 

By the end of September, Mercom said, the development pipeline for open access projects stood at more than 1.1GW.

“The demand for procuring renewables in the open-access market is increasing every quarter, indicating the market’s high potential,” said Priya Sanjay, managing director at Mercom India. “Corporates are trying to match their power demands through renewable sources. Commercial and industrial (C&I) establishments across the board are sourcing solar through open access to meet their commitment to sourcing renewables and mitigating climate change.”

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July to September

The report cited the power crisis triggered by depleting coal stocks at thermal power plants in the July to September window as a major wake-up call for commercial and industrial electricity users, who opted for alternative sources of power. Several states experienced power cuts from conventional sources, rendering open access solar generation more attractive.

The pace of open-access project development picked up after the second wave of Covid, according to the Mercom report. “However, the rising prices of [solar panel] raw materials, and thus [solar] components, have dampened the speed of installations,” stated the document. “The hike in goods and service tax (GST) is a major hurdle for the installers as it increases the overall project costs.”

During July to September, five States – Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Karnataka – accounted for around 96% of the overall 307MW of new open access solar capacity. Uttar Pradesh led, with around 35% of the segment, on the back of robust policy and a supporting regulatory framework, easy access to land, and efficient power evacuation facilities.

Tamil Nadu showed quarterly growth of more than 381% from the April-to-June period due to the state’s favorable regulatory framework and tariff structure, the report stated.

Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Karnataka accounted for 11%, 10%, and 7%, respectively, of open access installations during July to September.

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Source: pv magazine