3.3 gw solar installed in Jan-March period: Report

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Driven by large-scale projects, the solar installation in India during January-March period of the current calendar year was 3,269 megawatt (mw), up by over 9 per cent compared to 2,991 mw installed in the corresponding period last year, a report said on Tuesday.

The cumulative solar installed capacity totalled 22.8 gigawatt at the end of the quarter.

"The surge in installations in Q1 2018 was primarily due to the completion of projects which were scheduled for commissioning the previous quarter, but had experienced delays due to grid connection issues," the Mercom India report said.

"January-March period of 2018 was the best quarter on record for solar installations in India, with 3,269 mw, a 34 per cent increase compared to 2,448 mw installed in Q4 2017. Installations were also up when compared to the 2,991 mw installed in Q1 of 2017."

According to the US-based energy research and communications firm, this was the first quarter of over 3 gw installed in the Indian solar market. This was the fifth quarter in a row where at least 2 gw of solar were installed.

"Even though Q1 was a record quarter, solar procurement activity has been muted over the last few quarters. But with an anticipated decline in module prices, we expect to see tariffs decline and distribution companies ramp up procurement activity," said Mercom Capital Group's CEO and Co-Founder Raj Prabhu.

The large-scale solar project pipeline for India stood at 9.7 GW with 10.2 gw tendered and pending auction as of the end of Q1 2018.The large-scale solar project pipeline for India stood at 9.7 GW with 10.2 gw tendered and pending auction as of the end of Q1 2018.

"Coming off a record quarter, there are still several issues that need to be resolved by the government before strong growth resumes in the Indian solar sector at a healthy pace," Prabhu said.

Noting The uncertainty around the trade cases has put a freeze on development activity, the report said that industry needs clarity on the safeguard duty to understand how it will be imposed and at what levels. Even with the announcement of the pass-through provision, concerns remain in the industry, the report said.

The research firm is forecasting approximately 8-9 gw of solar installations in calendar year 2018.

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