India ups renewable energy commitment

18. June 2012 | Global PV markets, Markets & Trends | By:  Becky Beetz

India’s Union Minister of New and Renewable Energy has announced the increase of the country’s 2020 renewable energy targets, from six to 15 percent.

India flag

India has a stark need for more energy generation, due to its burgeoning population.

At the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA), held yesterday in Ireland’s capital, Dublin, Farooq Abdullah additionally said that an action plan has been developed, which lays the ground for 30 GW of renewable energy generation by 2017. He said that renewables already account for 12 percent of India’s total installed energy capacity.

In terms of solar, a target of 20 GW of grid connected and two GW of off-grid has been set, under the Jawahar Lal Nehru National Solar Mission, as is already known. Currently, India is just shy of hitting an installed solar capacity of one GW.

Under India’s reverse bidding auction, which has attracted criticism, due to the low bids offered, Farooq Abdullah said that solar electricity prices have fallen from US$0.35/kWh to under $0.17/kWh in the last year. He added that approximately 1.1 million Indian households are already using solar lighting solutions.

Overall, continued the minister, wind accounts for the lion’s share of renewable energy in India, with a reported installed capacity of 17 GW. "Surplus biomass material could also potentially be used to generate about 20 GW of power," he added.

Outlining the challenges facing the global renewable energy market – investment and technology – he said that India will need an investment of "at least" $50 billion over the next five years.

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