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India adds 2,320 MW solar capacity in COVID-19-hit January-September period

IBEF:  October 28, 2020

From January to September, when the Covid pandemic disrupted the economy, India added 2,320 MW of solar energy power, official data indicates.

The bulk of the new capacity was contributed by Rajasthan, which added 360 MW, Tamil Nadu 341 MW and Maharashtra 165 MW.

Research analytics firm JMK Research had estimated about 8,000 MW of utility-scale projects this year prior to the pandemic. However, in the first nine months of 2020, only 1,400 MW worth of power was commissioned.

JMK Research stated, "Because of COVID 19, there were construction delays, restricted movement of equipment supply, and labour shortages eventually leading to project delays".

It further added, "Now, most of this delayed capacity is likely to come up in the first half of 2021".

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy granted an extension of five months to all ongoing projects to help developers cope with the delays due to lockdowns. While stakeholders wanted a minimum of six months, after this extension was announced, no other requests have been made to the government.

Despite COVID-19, solar rooftops made some strides with a total capacity addition of 883 MW over the same span. Almost half of this power was added by Gujarat alone, adding 380 MW since January.

Favourable policy initiatives such as the Surya Urja Rooftop Yojana (which provides for a 40% and 20% subsidy for projects of 0-3 kW and 3-10 kW respectively) and the MSME policy (which allows excess energy generated by MSMEs to be sold at a fixed price to state distribution companies) have enabled Gujarat to step ahead of the other states.

Rajasthan with 150 MW and Tamil Nadu with 92 MW have installed the most solar rooftop power this year, after Gujarat.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.