Shining Solar: Insights from Renewable Watch’s Solar Power Survey

Insights from Renewable Watch’s Solar Power Survey

Indian solar installations were at an all-time high in 2021 as India installed a record 11.8 GW of solar capacity during the year. As the power sector continues to move away from conventional sources, solar power is expected to continue to take the leading role in meeting India’s 2030 clean energy targets.

Renewable Watch magazine conducted a pilot survey to better understand the present market sentiment, existing challenges, and outlook for the solar power segment in India. The survey was conducted at a recent conference on “Solar Power in India” hosted by Renewable Watch.

Several insights have been gathered which highlight the opportunities, challenges and outlook of the segment, with a survey consisting of 23 respondents. The respondents cover a variety of stakeholders including developers, manufacturers, researchers, government officials and likely industry consumers of solar power.

We highlight some of the key findings from the survey:

  1. Government targets and private segment interest were named to be the biggest enablers for solar power growth in India. This was followed by declining equipment costs and competitive bidding mechanism.
  2. In the utility scale solar segment, uncertain policies were named as the biggest challenge, followed by land constraints, delayed payments and transmission inadequacy.
  3. As per the respondents, high grid power tariffs are the biggest growth driver for commercial and industrial solar segment. This was followed by group-captive arrangements, green corporate strategies and the RESCO model.
  4. About 74 per cent of the respondents feel that India needs to mandate PV waste recycling. A few believe that it may be too early to comment on the issue, as financial viability and lack of mature technology are a few concerns at present.
  5. The highest score for the most effective provision to boost domestic manufacturing of solar products in India was assigned to production-linked incentives. This was followed by manufacturing-linked tender, basic custom duties and domestic content requirements.
  6. When asked about emerging segments with the highest potential for development in India, the highest score was assigned to solar-based green hydrogen projects. Solar-wind hybrids received the second highest score, followed by residential rooftop and floating solar.
  7. Uniformity in central and state policies was scored the highest in terms of the key requirements to ensure continued solar power growth in India. This was followed by PPA sanctity, access to low-cost finance and clear bidding trajectory.
  8. When asked which equipment is most concerning for installers and operators from a quality standpoint, most respondents (70 per cent) pointed to modules, while a few chose inverters, and the rest found all equipment equally concerning. Modules, at present, pose several challenges as there is huge dependence on imports for them. The logistics cost of modules is also very high.
  9. When asked whether the current solar power tariffs (less than Rs 2.4 per unit) are sustainable, 52 per cent said that the sustainability depends on the project location and other factors, while 35 per cent believe that the tariffs are unsustainable at current taxes and duties. Moreover, 13 per cent respondents find the tariffs to be not sustainable at all.
  10. Among the respondents, a majority (52.1 per cent) expect India’s total installed solar power capacity to be between 150 to 200 GW by 2030, while 26 per cent of the respondents expect it to reach 250 GW. The remaining believe that the installed solar power capacity is likely to remain between 200 to 250 GW by 2030.

Access the Solar Power Survey form here