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India’s solar power capacity addition has reached as much as 10 GW for the last financial year, which is FY 2017 to 2018. This FY has ended in March. Solar power addition continues to grow at the rate of 89 per cent in annual terms, according to the data collected by green energy consultancy Mercom Capital.

The share of solar energy generation in the country’s freshly commissioned power capacity in the FY 2017 to 2018 was around 6.59 per cent, increasing from 3.76 per cent from a year back, as this segment has recorded the greatest increase as far as fresh capacity addition in different power and energy sources are concerned. Wind, on the other hand, saw quite a drop in the installation activity due to transition from a feed in tariff (FiT) scheme to that of an auction mechanism. This has resulted in a situation where less than 2 GW of new wind parks have only been able to come online. This is a year on year drop of about 68 per cent. Moreover, hydropower plants (HPPs) which have been put on stream are 52 per cent less than in the previous financial year.

This has resulted in a situation where at the end of the FY 2017 to 2018, renewable sources of energy were contributing around 70 GW of the country’s total installed power generation capacity that rose to 345 GW. This represents a portion of around 20.32 per cent. This is upward from 17.5 per cent in the previous financial year. On the other hand, the share of coal as well as HPPs in India’s cumulative is 57.14 per cent and 13.12 per cent, respectively. Also, nuclear power has accounted for 1.96 per cent of India’s total installed power generation capacity. So, India’s total wind power capacity by the end of the month of March stands at 34 GW, whereas the solar component totaled to 22 GW.

India has pledged to generate 175 Giga Watt (GW) of installed renewable energy, of which 100 GW has to come from solar energy. This is being called the most ambitious renewable capacity addition program of the world. At the rate referred to earlier, it doesn’t seem feasible, although it is a good rate. It is hard to imagine that the solar power sector can achieve 100 GW by 2022. Although the economies of scale have indeed made solar energy and wind tariffs competitive with a thermal power plant but starting from a small base to the higher aims that have been set, it might prove difficult for India.

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Syeda Ambia Zahan

About Syeda Ambia Zahan

Syeda Ambia Zahan is a Guwahati-based journalist who has been covering environment, politics, technology, human interest stories and defence for the past five years. She is a State Editor at 101Reporters.com and an erstwhile Journalist with Aaj Tak. She can be reached at twitter @syedaambia