The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a damaging blow to all businesses worldwide. The solar sector is also affected by this unprecedented crisis regarding reduced demand, supply and workforce availability challenges.
India is running the world’s most extensive clean energy programme to achieve 175 gigawatts of renewable capacity, including 100GW of solar power, by 2022. (1)
Let us delve into some of the critical challenges faced by solar power plants in India.
Delayed projects and price escalations
According to industry experts, approximately 2.3 GW of the solar power plants in India is running behind schedule concerning the commissioning deadline between June to August, as the expected modules have only been supplied since March. (2) Projects worth over $2bn are at risk of missing scheduled commissioning starting July.
The current situation is expected to further impact the capacity and development of solar power plants in India. Furthermore, it will become difficult for developers to control price surges, as the prices of supplies from other sourcing nations such as Taiwan or Malaysia will escalate by 15-20 per cent. Thus, several companies in this sector seek additional financial support to deal with rising working capital costs and interest payments.
Lack of labour
It is speculated that since social distancing will continue to be the new normal, public transport (especially trains and buses) will take time to resume their normal operations. Due to this, it is expected that solar power plants in India may face a shortage of labourers since many migrant workers have already left for their hometowns.
Dependency on imports
Imports from Chinese companies meet about 80 per cent of the demand for solar cells and modules. (3) The pandemic has drastically affected the manufacturing capacities of China, and all major ship container companies have also stopped functioning. How quickly all this will be normalised is anybody’s guess, considering how the second wave of the virus currently affects the solar power plants in India.
Policies by the government for solar power plants in India
In the long run, the Indian government will do well to articulate policies that help the domestic manufacturing sector without compromising the quality and pricing of solar panels. Moreover, the pandemic will have a lasting impact on the B2B and B2C consumer-buying behaviour and choices. Sustainable, cheaper and clean solar energy is likely to be amongst the top priorities once the markets open up again.
Eventually, the solar power plants in India are expected to run smoothly, backed by strong consumer demand. It will also create a huge market for off-grid, hybrid and storage-based solar systems and products.
Additionally, the ministries and financial institutions have regularly pushed reforms and packages to keep the financial activities rolling. The Indian business community, which creates employment and contributes to the country’s GDP and nation-building, is eagerly waiting to start operations post lockdown, which might happen in phases. This ambivalent time calls for special efforts from the government and businesses to put the economy back on track at the earliest, minimising the impact on the solar industry by this unwarranted disruption due to Covid-19.
Nimbus Solar: Minimising the challenges
Nimbus Solar Solutions, a reputed renewable energy company, has always made significant contributions to the Solar Revolution in our country. The company is always abreast of the needs of all businesses and continues to supply tailor-made solar products for all industries. The company is backed up by a team of experienced engineers and technicians to install, maintain, and provide necessary education about all futuristic solar projects.
After overcoming these difficult times, the company will aim to accelerate the process of driving India towards becoming a global leader in solar energy. Its strong financial relationships and deep knowledge of tax implications will facilitate every business to receive maximum return from their investment in solar power.
For more information, visit www.nimbussolar.in