The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on India’s solar power industry will be a six-month deferment of commercial operation dates (CODs) along with a dent to rooftop solar installations as staff movement is restricted, said Sunil Jain, CEO, Hero Future Energies in an exclusive interview with ETEnergyworld.
“The government has agreed to give extension of time to everybody so that way it is safe. But, the only thing is that projects across the industry will get delayed by six months which would result in deferment of Commercial Operation Declaration for that period,” said Jain, adding Hero Future does not have any project to be commissioned immediately and the earliest one which has to come up is slated for October.
He added that the people to be primarily impacted would be the ones whose projects were already halfway through and whose modules were coming in January, February, or March.
India has an ambitious target of installing 40 gigawatt (GW) rooftop solar by 2022 and going by popular opinion, this could have been a golden time for the sector to catch up pace. However, according to Jain, the present situation will only make it difficult for the steep target to be met.
“Rooftop solar will be impacted more now because movement is restricted, and nobody will allow anyone into their houses or enter factories which are closed. Rooftop will be far more impacted than the grid-connected, which is under essential services and it will have an impact on the rooftop solar target as well. We will be way behind the target of 40 GW, as we have reached only about 3 GW till now,” said Jain.
Hero Future Energies has 1.3 GW installed renewables capacity with 1.5 GW under construction. The company plans to install 5 GW of installed and operating capacity by 2022.