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Solar open access installations up 664%

It’s sunny side up, for sure! Solar open access installations in India totalled 209MW in the second quarter (Q2) of 2021, a 664 per cent year-on-year (YoY) growth compared with 27 MW installed in Q2 2020, much to the pleasure of the Modi 2.0 government.

Solar open access installations up 664%
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Solar open access installations up 664% 

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Kolkata: It's sunny side up, for sure! Solar open access installations in India totalled 209MW in the second quarter (Q2) of 2021, a 664 per cent year-on-year (YoY) growth compared with 27 MW installed in Q2 2020, much to the pleasure of the Modi 2.0 government. Cumulative solar installations in the open access market have now surpassed 4.5 GW as of June 2021. That's not all. The pipeline of solar open access projects under development and pre-construction is estimated to be over 1 GW.

Along with these facts and figures what assumes great significance that an increasing number of corporates are trying to meet most of their power demand through renewable energy sources, and a large group of C&I entities have global commitments like RE100, Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), and environmental, social, governance (ESG). Many corporates that lack sufficient space to meet a more significant percentage of power demand opt for open access, and the demand for procuring renewables in the open market has only been growing every quarter. Textile and manufacturing industries are the largest consumers of short-term open access power.

If the latest report by Mercom India Research, a subsidiary of the US-based Mercom Capital Group, is a clean energy research company, is anything to go by, installations in the first half of 2021 totalled nearly 628 MW of solar open access, a 12-fold (1,230 per cent) growth compared to 47 MW installed in H1 2020. In the first half of 2021, Uttar Pradesh (UP) had the highest number of installations in the solar open access segment, followed by Maharashtra (MH) and Tamil Nadu (TN).

"DISCOMs need to realise that the demand for renewables cannot be curtailed and have to reconsider the consumers' right to combatting climate change and choosing their suppliers of power. The power demand from C&I entities is growing, and eventually, the states will have to invest in new power generation. On the other hand, open access will not only generate revenue without DISCOMs investing but also bring in large investments from around the world," said Priya Sanjay, MD, Mercom India.

Interestingly, the quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) installations declined by nearly 50 per cent in Q2 2021 compared to Q1 2021, thanks to the second wave of Covid. However, with the pending projects in the pipeline and the government's initiative to promote green open, solar open access projects, installations are expected to rise.

As of June 30, 2021, Karnataka is the largest market for solar open access cumulatively, followed by Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh (MP), Andhra Pradesh (AP), and TN. The top five states account for about 73 per cent of India's total solar open access market. In Q2 2021, the largest solar open access projects capacity was developed in UP, followed by Chhattisgarh and MH. The top three states accounted for 83 per cent of installations in the quarter.

Ritwik Mukherjee
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