India has made an exceptional commitment to solar energy by raising its 2022 target five-fold to 100GW and its Renewable Energy target to 175GW. The government has announced an unprecedented policy push and states are providing the necessary infrastructure. Annual investments in solar could surpass investment in coal by 2019-20, with USD 35bn committed by global players. For local IPPs, solar has to be an inherent part of their expansion strategy, as RE obligations become strictly enforceable and cost of coal power increases. NTPC, Adani and RPWR are ahead in this development cycle which adds 10-15% to our current valuations. NTPC is our top pick.
We raise our solar power forecast by 240%
Global majors have committed USD 35bn+ to the Indian solar sector. By 2020, annual solar power capacity additions and investments could surpass those in coal power projects. We are raising our solar power forecasts by 240% to 34GW by 2020. This is on the back of strong commissioning (4.5GW), even stronger pipeline - under construction (~5.1GW), and new projects (~15GW). By then, renewables could account for a significant 20% of power capacities in India, per our forecast. Private sector interest is decisively moving towards solar from coal power, and we foresee numerous opportunities of fund-raising, yield co-structuring and M&A activity.
RE can reach 20% of capacity but we see challenges to higher penetration
(1) Transmission constraints and integration of diurnal power into the grid are risks, without peak-load management capability. Solar absorption in Rajasthan could see challenges like wind in Tamil Nadu, given policy target of 25GW solar vs. peak-demand of 11GW. (2) A further risk is the enforcement of RE purchase obligations (RPOs) given weak finances of state distribution cos, and hence large-scale absorption of solar could be a concern (INR 170bn additional burden by 2020E). (3) Other issues include financing, land acquisition, limited domestic manufacturing, and returns/reliability of baseline data.
Impact on the thermal power producers
Solar could have a significant impact on day power rates, given that generation peaks between 9am and 6pm. In turn, this could reduce the coal requirement by ~8% or 70mnt by 2020E, largely impacting the highest cost of power, i.e., imported coal – leading to large savings (~USD 17bn/pa).
Here is a link to the full report.
India has highly favourably demographics but if that dividend is to be realised the country needs to embark on a long-term policy of industrialisation. Narendra Modi’s government understands what has to be done and is gradually making the changes needed to unlock India’s considerable development potential.
On its path to industrialisation China built huge numbers of coal fired power stations which facilitated growth but poisoned the air. It is now faced with an environment challenge that is proving expensive to correct. India has the potential to partially circumvent at least these challenges by taking advantage of improvements in technology that were not available to China when it began to industrialise.
In the utility sector, NTPC rallied in early 2014 to break a lengthy progression of lower rally highs and is now forming a first step above the Type-2 base. It is currently firming from the INR130 level and a sustained move below that level would be required to question current scope for continued higher to lateral ranging.
Among Solar panel manufacturers Sun Edison has a joint venture with Adani Enterprises. Its share is somewhat overextended relative to the trend mean following an impressive advance since January but a break in the progression of higher reaction lows, currently near $28, would be required to question potential for additional upside.
Trina Solar is also mentioned in the above report as having an interest in developing manufacturing prospects with Reliance Industries. The share dropped below the trend mean three weeks ago and has yet to demonstrate more than temporary support near $10.