India’s solar installations in 2020 were the lowest in five years

India installed 3,239 MW of solar capacity in the calendar year 2020, a 56 percent decline, compared to 7,346 MW in 2019, according to the latest »Annual India Solar Market Update« released by Mercom India Research. By the end of 2020, large-scale solar installations accounted for 78 percent of the total installations with 2,520 MW. The figure saw a 60 percent decline compared to the last year, says Mercom. Rooftop solar installations accounted for 22 percent of the installations with 719 MW, a 35 percent drop compared to 2019.
Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Gujarat were the top three states in large-scale solar installations accounting for 51 percent of the total installations.
Overall, India’s solar installations in 2020 were the lowest in five years. »The Covid-19 pandemic was a major reason for the decline,« said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group. Another issue that affected the numbers was the difficulty government agencies faced in getting distribution companies to sign power sale agreements (PSAs) in the wake of the steep fall in tariffs in most auctions. Nearly 17 to 18 GW of projects are languishing without a PSA in place.
Renewable energy sources accounting for 78 percent of total installations in 2020, with solar representing 48 percent of new capacity additions and wind accounting for 17.4 percent. Coal accounted for just 21 percent of new capacity. The share of solar in India’s power mix reached 10.3 percent, exceeding that of wind-based power sources (10.25 percent) for the first time.
Cumulative solar installed capacity in India was approximately 39 GW at the end of December 2020. The large-scale solar project pipeline in India stood at 47.5 GW, with another 24.5 GW of tendered capacity pending auctions. Electricity generated from solar in 2020 crossed 58.2 billion kWh. Mercom India Research is forecasting over 10 GW of solar installations in 2021, as most of the projects scheduled for 2020 were moved to 2021.

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