The Future of PV: Challenges and Opportunities for the Industry in the Coming Years
The last 7-8 years for the Solar Industry have been about exponential growth. Starting with projects on the scale of 5-10 MW solar non- park-based projects to 100-250 MW solar park-based projects, and now again seeing solar non- park-based projects but at sizes of 300 MW & above, and connected at CTU instead of STU.
What are some of the challenges and opportunities the industry faces in the future? Let’s find out.
Legal, Commercial, and Taxation Aspects
The HC recently instructed the GST panel to review the split-tax structure formulated for solar power generating systems unveiled on Jan 1st. The current provision entails taxing 70% of the contract value as goods, taxed at 5%, and the balance 30% as services, taxed at 18%.
The industry, represented in court by the Solar Power Development Association, believes a fair split to be 90:10, and not the current 70:30 proposed by the government.
It would be nice to see the industry on the same page, and seek clarity from the government. Otherwise there will be a lot of reading between the lines and individual interpretation.
Use of Trackers, Drones, IoT, and Advanced Analytics
A solar tracking system attached to your ground-mounted solar installation increases the yield of each panel by virtue of tracking the sun through the day. We have seen a gain of as much as 20-24% down south. The technology is well-deployed in India and abroad as well. The costs have to be understood based on the economic proposition of the project.
Trackers are also going through a phase of changes with the 3P structure being introduced in place of 1P, making it a more viable technology going forward.
Analytics and IOT will be the backbone of a firm’s future decisions. Managing a portfolio of projects having different technologies, and comparing the generation and output with neighboring projects, will help in taking decisions for future projects as to which technology is to be adopted in which geographical area of the country. Also, getting useful information from all of your projects will increase the availability of projects and hence enhance generation.
The time has come where the kind of risks associated with large-scale projects, both Developers and EPCs have to come together as partners and not concentrate the risk on just EPC players. Furthermore, the growth we have seen over the last few years shows no signs of slowing, provided that all stakeholders, including the government, continue to work together and encourage effective solutions, and confront challenges in a prompt and effective manner.
We are excited for the future of PV, and are glad to be a part of moving the country forward in its 100GW installed solar capacity goal.