India’s renewable energy push has come under strain, with a 7% on-year fall in solar rooftop capacity building in 2019 ending an eight-year run of continuous growth in demand. Demand is likely to fall further in 2020 owing to disruptions caused by Covid-19, according to a report by consultancy firm Bridge to India.
This is a cause for concern for the government, which has declared renewable power an essential service amid the lockdown to keep up growth. The ‘India Solar Rooftop Map Report’ says India’s rooftop installed capacity stood at 5,440 mw on December 31, 2019, adding only 1,534 mw that year.
The agency attributed the decline to uncertainty in the market owing to policy volatility and a weakening economy. The general election in 2019 and depreciation of the rupee were also contributory factors. “Rooftop solar has finally hit the blues after continuous growth,” said Vinay Rustagi, managing director, Bridge to India. “We see a sharper slowdown this year because of Covid-19 and resultant disruption in construction activity.” Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Gujarat are leading the renewable energy push.