Coal, not solar, is energizing power capacity addition

In the past three years, India added 77,636 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity in power generation and as much as 68% of this new capacity was powered by coal


Renewables, led by wind and solar, accounted for 21% of the increase. India added 16,051MW of new power capacity via renewables, where solar is the centre’s focus. Photo: Bloomberg
Renewables, led by wind and solar, accounted for 21% of the increase. India added 16,051MW of new power capacity via renewables, where solar is the centre’s focus. Photo: Bloomberg

In a century belonging to renewable energy, traditional, non-renewable sources are continuing to shape India’s power landscape in a big way. In the past three years, India added 77,636 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity in power generation, an increase of 34%.

As much as 68% of this new capacity was powered by coal, whose prices have halved globally since January 2011. As a result, coal’s share in installed capacity has crossed 60%.

Renewables, led by wind and solar, accounted for 21% of the increase. India added 16,051MW of new power capacity via renewables, where solar is the centre’s focus. The National Solar Mission is targeting 100,000MW of solar capacity by 2022.

At present, India has 7,805MW of solar capacity. Bridge to India, a clean-tech consultancy, is projecting 37,000MW by 2020. Unless the sector can address the challenges of securing financing and grid stability, and adding rooftop capacity, it will struggle to come close to that 100,000MW target.

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