Solar industry is growing globally and the year 2017 has been the year of expansion for solar. China led the growth spectrum by adding 52 GW of new solar installations in 2017, while US (12.5 GW), India (~6 GW), Japan (5.8 GW), Germany (2.2 GW) took positions respectively. Australia, South Korea, Chile, and Turkey also became GW markets in 2017 stepping into competition for solarisation.
With awareness growing and more developing countries investing in the renewable energy mix, 2018 is estimated to bring in huge opportunities, forwarding solar revolution to new heights.
Global Growth Predictions
China will continue to dominate solar growth in 2018. Although, US president Mr. Donald Trump focused on fossil fuel based energy rather than renewables, solar growth in the US will be moderate. Solar growth in India will be on its way to overtake EU in 2022.
With growth in installations, focus on making projects bankable and attracting investments will be stressed upon. Share of renewable energy will grow in the present year on its way to be 30% of total global energy generation by 2022, however, coal will still remain the biggest contributor of energy.
Growth Predictions for India
In 2017, India overtook Japan and became the third top solar market. Currently the country has ~16.6 GW of grid connected solar capacity and potential for growth in 2018 are incredible. In 2017, Government of India paved the way for large utility scale solar installations in India by focusing on solar parks (approving Rs 8,100 crore for 50 solar parks), which will help in adding more solar capacity in 2018, directing more solar energy to the grid.
Scaling Up in Business Ready Country List
India ranking higher in the list of Business ready countries, jumping 32 places up from the last year and acquiring 100th place in the list has huge implications for the growing solar industry.
New Projects, New Opportunities
Government of India planning to invite bids for 20 GW solar capacity (with domestic sourcing) will also create demand and open up new opportunities for solar growth. The tender calendar showcases a planned project bidding structure to help facilitate the growth.
- A 3 GW capacity in December 2017
- 3 GW in January 2018
- 5 GW in February 2018
- 6 GW capacity project in March 2018 is expected to be on the market for bidding for
20 GW in solar parks. Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has also plans to award 100 GW of contracts in 2018, of which 77GW will be solar power projects and the remaining 23GW to wind. Plans for 5-10 GW of floating solar power projects auctioning in 2018 is also on the table.
Besides project auctioning and execution plans, Government of India is also aware of the T&D losses (still above 15%) and states failure in fulfilling RPO targets. In addition, expected to demand states to procure 14.25% of electricity demand from clean energy sources in 2017-18 and 17% in 2018-19.
Rooftop Solar Growth
In 2017, Government of India has also shown focus towards residential rooftop solar growth, ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) planning to support rooftop solar market by offering excise duty benefits will reduce cost of installation and power generation for the sector. Hopefully in 2018, more favourable actions will be taken to ensure growth within sector
After nearly 5 years of appeals and struggle against imported modules, Indian solar manufacturers are finally hoping for anti-dumping duty imposition on imported modules as investigation on the same has been started by Directorate General of Anti-Dumping (DGAD).
The result will be out in 2018 and imposition of duties of imported modules will offer a level playing field for domestic manufacturers and allow domestic manufacturing industry to grow in 2018.
Opportunities to Claim Export Market
In case the Section 201 case (solar safeguard) in the US becomes a reality in 2018, India’s solar export scenario could change giving the country access to the second most demanding market in the world. Ultimately, increasing India’s solar export income from current $69 mn.
Indian Solar Alliance Will Bring Progress
Progress in Indian Solar Alliance (ISA) in 2017 opened up the opportunity to access virtually untapped 121 countries (members of ISA) for solar export, technological exchange, and raising investment.
Challenges to Be Tackled
Policy landscape in Indian solar sector has played a major role in supporting the sector, and with new plans laid out, India will surely see incredible growth in 2018. However, the country still needs to act on supporting domestic manufacturing, clearing ambiguity in DCR category project existence (whether it will stay or not), GST clarification, RPO fulfilment, PPA re-negotiation, and tariff stabilization to help Indian solar story shine.
Acceptance towards solar is growing globally, allowing new markets to be developed, new technology to be innovated, and rapid solarisation. It is the best time for India to bring country’s solar initiatives into light, bringing in investors and claiming the global export market. The year 2018 will be crucial to that reach that goal.
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