India: solar installs outstrip wind in FY 2016 to date

New data published late last week by India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has revealed that there has been more solar PV installed nationwide this financial year (FY) than wind, marking perhaps a period in which solar will close the gap on its windy rival.

Indian has more than 28 GW of wind capacity installed, having embraced this form of renewable energy with more initial gusto than solar PV. However, as solar’s costs have tumbled and the Modi government has made proactive steps to increase its capacity, that gap has slowly begun to close.

As of September 30 the cumulative solar capacity in India stood at 8,513 MW, and for the FY so far (which began on April 1), some 1.8 GW of new solar PV capacity has been installed – an impressive amount for what is essentially two quarters.

In June, analysts Mercom Capital reported that solar was on course to hit 5 GW of new installations this year, becoming the nation’s fastest-growing new energy source in the process.

Over that same period, wind power capacity in the country grew by 1.3 GW, which means that solar leads renewable energy installations in India for FY 2016. Capacity additions for bio-power have reached 51 MW for the FY to date, while small hydro power has hit 50 MW.

The MNRE data also showed that India’s renewable energy capacity currently stands at 45.9 GW. Solar’s goal of 100 GW by 2022 is largely contingent on greater investment and support in the country’s domestic manufacturing industry, making the wider goal of 175 GW of renewable energy installed by that date hinging on solar’s ability to meet its targets.

Renewables currently account for almost 15% of India’s total installed power generation capacity, with coal meeting 60.1% of the country’s power needs, hydro at 14% and gas at just over 8%.