Green power is driving the growth in India’s electricity generation as total installed solar capacity, including rooftop and off-grid projects, has crossed 10 gigawatts (gW), latest government and market data show.
Generation from conventional sources showed an annual growth rate of over 5% in the 11-month period of 2016-2017 financial year, while output from renewable power projects rose more than 26% during this period. Together, the total growth in generation is in excess of 6% from a year-ago period, government data show.
Power ministry officials say the net growth figure will be higher as generation data from renewable power projects come with a time lag, and therefore, does not reflect in the Central Electricity Authority’s latest report The officials said the total generation this February showed marginal decline than the year-ago period due to the effect of 2016 being a leap year. A day’s extra generation in February 2016 affected the February 2017 figure by 3.57%. Had February 2017 also had one extra day, the increase in electricity generation from conventional sources would have been 3.52%, the officials said. Market watchers see renewables continuing to carve a bigger space in the country’s generation sphere on the back of the Narendra Modi government’s funding push.
After coming to power in 2014, the government revised the target for renewables from 20 gW to 175 gW, including 100 gW of grid-connected solar projects, by 2022.
Last month, the government announced an ambitious scheme to double solar power generation capacity under the solar parks scheme to 40,000 mega watts (mW) by 2020, with Rs 8,100 crore assistance to fund 30% of the initial project cost of developers.
India is expected to add new solar capacity of 5.1 gW this year, which is a growth of 137% over last year, a recent report by Bridge To India, a green energy-focused consultant, said. It expected an annual capacity addition of about 8-10 gW in 2017.
“India is expected to become the world’s third biggest solar market from next year onwards after China and the US,” it said.
Tamil Nadu has the highest installed solar energy capacity, followed by Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab. These seven states collectively accounted for more than 80% of total installed capacity as of mid-November.