Top 20 Developers Account for Almost 60 percent of all Operating Large-Scale Solar Projects in India


Utility scale solar in India has seen exponential growth over the past two years with 4.3 GW of solar installed in calendar year 2016. India’s total installed solar capacity is 12.8 GW, as of March 2017.

Tata Power has come out on top with the largest share of operating projects in India, while Adani leads with the largest pipeline of large-scale projects in the country. With a steep fall in module prices and slow development of the rooftop market, large-scale development is expected to continue to make up a majority of solar installations in the country. Mercom India has forecasted approximately 10 GW in large-scale solar project installations for 2017 in its recently released India Solar Market Update Q1 2017.

Currently, there are approximately 200 developers with projects of at least 5 MW or more in operation. The top 20 developers account for almost 60 percent of all operating utility-scale projects in the country as of Q1 2017. Large conglomerates and private equity-backed pure-play developers are leading large-scale project development.

In terms of installed solar capacity, Greenko is a close second to Tata Power with 864 MW of installed capacity. Tata Power commissioned a 15 MW solar project in Telangana in February. That, added with the acquisition of Welspun’s solar projects and assets, has bolstered the company’s top position.

There are 109 project developers with a pipeline of 5 MW or more in India. Adani has taken the top spot from ReNew Power with the largest solar project pipeline of more than 1,200 MW. Greenko, ACME, Essel and Suzlon each have project pipelines of more than 500 MW.

ReNew Power commissioned close to 338 MW of large-scale solar in the first quarter of 2017, resulting in a decrease in project pipeline from over 1.35 GW in the previous quarter to 1 GW. The company recently commissioned a 143 MW solar project at Dichpally, Telangana.

While developers like Adani and Azure have grown by building project pipelines organically over time. Tata Power and Greenko have taken the route of growth by acquisition.

“With recent bids falling below Rs.3 (~$0.047)/kWh, it will become extremely challenging for smaller developers to compete in these hyper-competitive auctions. We will begin to see larger companies dominating utility-scale projects even more going forward,” said Priya Sanjay, Managing Director of Mercom India.

According to Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker, the pipeline for utility-scale projects that are under development is approximately 12.6 GW.

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Image Credit: “Construction of the Long Island Solar Fa” (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by Brookhaven National Laboratory