As it continues to expand its grid amid growing demand, India is staying true to its ambitious renewable energy targets, with solar playing an increasingly important role in the country’s energy mix.
The latest data, provided by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and analyzed by Mercom Capital Group, show a steady growth in renewable energy installations in India, which as of April 2017 account for 17.5 % of the total energy source.
Namely, the country’s overall installed capacity has reached 329.4 GW, with renewables accounting for 57.472 GW. This constitutes a significant increase on the statistics released by the MNRE back in February, when the figure stood at around 50 GW.
In India’s renewables mix, solar took the share of 21.8 % with 12.5 GW as the second largest after dominant wind power, which accounted for 56.2 % with as much as 32.3 GW.
However, solar is unparalleled in terms of the pace of installation growth. In April 2017, it reached 3.8% of total installed capacity up from 2.23% in April 2016. The surge in installment comes on the wings of the rapidly falling solar tariffs, including the current record low of INR 2.44 ($ 0.037)/kWh accepted in the 500 MW Bhadla Phase-III Solar Park auction, successfully putting thermal behind solar on costs.
Although the country’s state utility National Thermal Power Corporation has showed itself to be the principle supporter of the government’s green energy agenda, India’s coal-fired fleet remains strong with a 59% share in the total energy mix, but with no signs of growth on the February stats when it accounted for 60.1 %.
In a bid to deliver on its pledge of reaching 170 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, of which 100 GW is to come from solar, India is expected to experience a banner year in 2017 with the addition of around 10 GW of solar.