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Energy News

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

New Delhi: India added 2,320 MW ofsolar energy capacityfromJanuaryto September, when theCovid-19pandemic disrupted the economy, official data shows.

Rajasthan with 360 MW added, Tamil Nadu with 341 MW and Maharashtra with 165 MW accounted for the bulk of the new capacity.

Prior to the pandemic, research analytics firm JMK Research had projected about 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,” JMK Research said. “Now, most of this delayed capacity is likely to come up in the first half of 2021.”

India had 36,050.74 MW of solar energy capacity as of September 30, equivalent to 9.7% of the country’s total installed power capacity, according to data on the Central Electricity Authority’s website.

To help developers deal with lockdown delays, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy granted a five-month extension 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.

Solar rooftop, with total capacity addition of 883 MW in the same period, made some strides despite the pandemic. Gujarat alone contributed almost half of this capacity, adding 380 MW since January.

Favourable policy measures such as Surya Urja Rooftop Yojana, which provides for as much as 40% subsidy for some projects, and a policy that allows excess energy produced by small enterprises to be sold to the state distribution companies at a fixed price have helped Gujarat steer ahead of other states.

Rajasthan added 150 MW of solar rooftop capacity and Tamil Nadu 92 MW.

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