India to become an anchor of global solar demand over next five years, installing more than 9 GW between 2011 and 2016, report forecasts; installed grid-connected solar capacity to jump from 54 MW in 2010 to over 1,100 MW by 2012

BOSTON , November 3, 2011 (press release) – With forecasted growth, the time is now for global players to capitalize on India’s solar promise.

Over the next five years, India will become an anchor of global solar demand, installing more than 9 GW between 2011 and 2016, according to a new report, The India Solar Market: Strategy, Players, and Opportunities from GTM Research and BRIDGE TO INDIA. The market’s gigawatt-scale emergence will be spurred by the maturing National Solar Mission (NSM) and a collection of state-level incentives, as well as an influx of expertise from global solar players entering India.

At over 100 pages, The India Solar Market: Strategy, Players, and Opportunities report is a primary examination of India’s market dynamics and includes comprehensive analysis on solar policy roadmaps, state-by-state demand drivers, domestic manufacturing and technology positioning. In addition, the report pinpoints the opportunities, timeframe and obstacles for industry leaders looking to monetize Indian opportunity.

At year-end 2010, India claimed just 54 MW of installed grid-connected solar. However, recent feed-in tariffs (FIT) allocations from the NSM and the state of Gujarat’s Solar Policy promise to increase that installed capacity six-fold to approximately 365 MW by the end of 2011 and, furthermore, to over 1,100 MW by 2012.

“Solar in India is set to grow significantly over the next 10 years,” said Dr. Tobias Engelmeier, Managing Director at BRIDGE TO INDIA and the report’s lead author. “This growth will be driven by rising power demand and fossil fuel prices, the ambition of the NSM and various state-level initiatives, as well as by renewable energy quotas, including solar energy quotas for utilities and the subsequent gains in solar cost reduction.”

Yet, while solar policy and project pipelines remain robust, developers are facing a number of challenges that threaten forecasted growth. Chief among these threats is project bankability and financing; banks have been reticent to finance a first wave of Indian projects with national- or state-level FITs/power purchase agreements (PPAs), the majority of which are being promoted by inexperienced Indian developers.

“Financing is the number one concern for anyone developing solar in India,” said Shayle Kann, Managing Director of Solar at GTM Research. “To ease that pressure and eventually realize the market’s potential, we expect to see the competitive landscape evolve dramatically via strategic partnerships and joint ventures; India will benefit from the development expertise of global solar incumbents and these incumbents in turn will benefit from having a local partner to navigate the country’s complex energy market.”

To date, first movers such as SunEdison (NYSE: WFR), juwi solar, AES Solar, Conergy (FWB: CGY), Gehrlicher Solar, and Enfinity have employed this strategy to enter India, teaming with local developers or EPC providers to gain early market share or build viable project pipelines. Foreign module manufacturers have also made in-roads, opening initial supply channels in India; included in this group are thin film suppliers, First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR), Solar Frontier and Abound Solar, as well as crystalline-silicon manufacturers, Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL) and Suntech (NYSE: STP)

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