India added a total solar and wind power capacity of only 4,908 megawatt (MW) in 2020, the lowest in past five years, according to a recent report by Bridge to India.
It added that the capacity addition for utility-scale solar and wind was 2,620 MW and 1,309 MW, down 60 per cent and 40 per cent year-on-year, respectively.
“Rooftop solar installations were down at 979 MW, 36 per cent below previous year installations. While the total renewable sector capacity including small hydro and biomass reached 94,181 MW,” the report said.
According to the report, COVID-19 induced operational and financial challenges were the main reasons for stalling project development and construction activity. It said that despite lifting of lockdown restrictions in May, equipment and labour shortages, delays in governmental approvals, financial closures and restrictive working practices continued to affect the progress.
“Persistent delays in land acquisition and transmission connectivity besides increase in solar modules prices as well as metal costs in the past few months, and delayed shipments from China have also contributed to the slowdown,” it added.
According to Vinay Rustagi, managing director, Bridge of India, 2020 was a one-off year. “While we should not read too much in these low numbers, other markets with similar challenges have done much better. We estimate total capacity addition of about 29 GW in the next two years taking total capacity by end of 2022 to 123 GW,” said Rustagi.
He added that the poor progress was disappointing as were the recent developments such as cancellation of tenders and worsening financial conditions of discoms. He said that the government needed to urgently identify and fix specific issues for speedier implementation.