Renewable Energy Installation Endures to Stay Sluggish Due to COVID-19 Lockdown: Report

While construction activity was allowed to resume in April, the lack of labour, difficulty in movement of goods and delays in site inspections and approvals held up growth

June 20, 2020. By News Bureau

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Growth of wind and solar installation remained slow in May, with only 12 MW of wind capacity and 176 MW of solar capacity added as developers resumed work on projects after curbs levied during the lockdown were relieved.

While construction activity was allowed to resume in April, the lack of labour, difficulty in movement of goods and delays in site inspections and approvals held up growth.

“If we are trying to add 10-12 GW of renewable capacity every year, we should be doing almost 1 GW every month,” said Vinay Rustagi, managing director of Bridge To India.

Wind energy installation was appalling because they have a more complex supply chain than solar projects.

“There are more critical parts, scattered manufacturing units and the need for specialized site personnel. So, it’s inevitable that wind will take slightly longer to recover,” Rustagi said.

“This doesn’t come as a surprise to me. There’s practically no activity happening on the ground because of Covid-19,” said a leading developer, requesting anonymity. “We will see the same trend in June as well.”

Almost no renewable energy capacity was added in April, according to BTI.

If there are no further Covid-19-related setbacks, a stable improvement in construction activity is anticipated over the second half of the year. “But it will take another three or four months before we can return to normal levels,” Rustagi said

Developers have not reduced their project pipelines.

“We intend to do what was our plan pre-Covid this year. We are not keen to shift our plans. We have about 2.5 GW of projects for execution,” Ashish Khanna, president of Tata Power’s renewables division, told ET last week.

Buying spare parts is expected to be an issue, he said.

“Say, if 12 hours was what it took to get spares, with Covid, the transportation time has gone up. District-to-district and state-to-state movement is not easy,” Khanna said.

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