NEW DELHI: India has added 2,320 MW of solar energy capacity from January to September, when the Covid pandemic disrupted the economy, official data shows.
Rajasthan, which added 360 MW, Tamil Nadu 341 MW, and Maharashtra 165 MW accounted for the bulk of the new capacity.
Prior to the pandemic, research analytics firm JMK Research had projected around 8,000 MW of utility-scale projects this year. However, only 1,400 MW worth of capacity has been commissioned over the first nine months of 2020.
"Because of COVID 19, there were construction delays, restricted movement of equipment supply, and labour shortages eventually leading to project delays," said JMK Research.
"Now, most of this delayed capacity is likely to come up in the first half of 2021," it further added.
To help developers deal with the delays due to lockdown, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy granted a blanket extension of five months to all ongoing projects. Although stakeholders wanted at least six months, no other requests have been made to the government since this extension was announced.
With total capacity addition of 883 MW over the same period, solar rooftop made some strides despite COVID-19. Gujarat alone contributed nearly half of this capacity, adding 380 MW since January.
Favourable policy measures such as Surya Urja Rooftop Yojana (which provides for 40% and 20% subsidy for 0-3 kW and 3-10 kW projects respectively) and the MSME policy (which allows excess energy produced by the MSME to be sold to the state distribution companies at a fixed price) have helped Gujarat steer ahead of the other states.
After Gujarat, Rajashtan at 150 MW and Tamil Nadu at 92 MW have added the most solar rooftop capacity this year.