India’s installed renewable energy capacity surpasses 50 GW

The Indian government has made no secret of its ambition to become a world leader in renewable energy. Its bold target of 175 GW of installed renewable capacity by 2022 was initially seen in some quarters of the industry as naively optimistic, but recent installation successes have cast away many of those doubts.

Data gathered by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and analyzed by Mercom Capital Group show that the country had 50,017 MW of renewable capacity installed nationwide as of December 31, 2016.

Of that figure, wind power comprised the lion’s share with 28.7 GW, but it is solar’s growth in the space of year that really catches the eye. Solar capacity in India stood at 9,012 MW by the end of 2016, and is expected to grow by that same amount in 2017 alone.

Already this year India has tendered 931 MW of additional solar capacity in January, with a further 504 MW auctioned. Of the 931 MW figure – which is a five-fold increase on the amount of solar tendered in December 2016 – the state of Tamil Nadu tendered 500 MW. The auctioned capacity was all-but comprised of a 500 MW auction by the Neyveli Lignite Corporation, which is active also in Tamil Nadu.

Currently, solar comprises just 2.9% of the overall installed power capacity mix in India, with renewables combined making up 16% of the total energy source. Coal remains the clear and dominant source of power, the data shows, comprising 60.1% of the installed base, with hydro at 13.7% and nuclear just 1.84%.