2018: How Progressive It Is Going To Be for Solar

Indian solar industry witnessed huge capacity additions and expansions in 2017 globally. Not only China which led the growth in solar with 52 GW, but US, India, Japan, and Germany showed incredible growth trajectory. New solar markets like South Korea, Chile, and Turkey came forward and became GW markets in 2017.

Growing awareness and interest in solar within developing countries as well as dominant countries are estimated to show even a better result in 2018.

How solar will fare Globally

In 2018, China is estimated to continue to lead the growth; however, US’s present stance (dubious because of US president Mr. Donald Trump) may reduce America’s growth milestones in the New Year. Developing countries investing (more than developing countries-$131bn in 2016) in renewable energy will surely aid renewable energy (mainly solar) to account for more than 30% of total global energy generation by 2022. Although, coal will still be the primary energy source in 2018, renewable energy continuously growing is a strong sign that illustrates future energy scenario.

How Indian solar industry will fare in 2018

India has already claimed the mantle of third top solar market by overtaking japan. And the country is poised to overtake solar growth in EU by 2022. To reach that milestone, India is focusing on solar parks (more than 50 solar parks are going to be developed), which will add to Indian solar capacity immensely.

  • Policies and initiatives have made India an attractive business platform for the future (India reached 100th place in the list of Business ready countries). With focus on green energy and solar market, business in solar will increase in the country, leading to solar growth.
  • Government of India has also announced plans to beef up solar capacity through introducing 20 GW solar capacity projects. Even the tender process is also planned involving 3-6 GW capacity project introduction in Jan-March. New plans from MNRE to award 77 GW solar contract in the year 2018 is estimated to give Indian solar industry an incredible boost. Indian solar industry desperately needs focus on project introduction and reducing the time lag between auctioning and awarding the projects. In such a scenario, Government of India focusing on projects will bring positive impact for the industry.
  • Not just utility scale solar development, Indian solar industry is estimated to witness improvement in the rooftop solar sector as well. New investment coming in, and Government seeking to boost residential rooftop solar growth in 2018, will raise awareness in favour of solar.
  • Estimations of anti-dumping duty imposition on imported solar modules (results are due in 2018) will certainly offer domestic manufacturers in India a level playing field and allow India to control its own solar energy future, thus show incredible growth trajectory in 2018.
  • With the US hesitant to go all in solar (due to US president Mr. Donald Trump’s convictions), India can make a decisive move to claim a larger portion of the solar export market in 2018. With anti-dumping duty imposition in effect (hopefully in 2018) and US slowing down, It is truly a great opportunity for India to focus on domestic manufacturing capacity enhancement, which will establish India as a leader in solar export market again (in FY13-14 solar export stood at $282.58 mn, and in FY16-17- $69.10 mn).

As the data and initiatives point, 2018 is going to be a great year for solar. However, there are still challenges to be tackled to unleash and utilize Indian solar potential. Improving the policy landscape and adding new bits to favour domestic solar capacity enhancement, clearing out confusion regarding DCR projects, clarifying GST, stopping PPA re-negotiation, mandating RPO fulfilment, and stabilizing solar tariff will surely help India to harvest on the opportunities that 2018 is here with.

Global solar growth clearly explains the future of energy. Moreover, it is the right moment for India to make bold decisions to adopt solar, securing the future of the country.