India’s Solar Power Generation Grows Slower Year-Over-Year Compared to 1H of Last Year

In the past few years, solar power generation has increased exponentially in the country, and the electricity generation has crossed over 12 billion units (BUs) in the period between April and June 2019.

India’s plan to move away from thermal power-based generation to meet the carbon emission targets of Paris Agreement for climate change coupled with government’s ambitious goal of installing 100 GW of solar by 2022 has provided momentum to solar energy in the country.

According to Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker, solar accounted for nearly 31.5 GW of the total installed capacity, representing 8.73% of the total installed capacity at the end of June 2019.

Solar Electricity Generation (MU) by Quarter

According to the data released by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), solar power generation in the second quarter (Q2) of calendar year (CY) 2019 increased by 29% year-over-year (YoY) to 12,277 million units (MUs) compared to Q2 2018 during which approximately 9,514 MUs were generated by solar projects.



Solar energy generation also witnessed a growth of 7% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) from the 11.4 BUs generated in the Q1 2019.

Solar Electricity Generation 1H 2017-1H 2019 (MU)

India’s solar power generation peaked with over 23.7 BUs of electricity produced in the first half (1H) of 2019. However, the growth rate of solar power generation has declined to 32%, compared to 86% growth recorded in 1H 2018. This was due to the decreased pace of solar capacity addition in the first half of 2019 to 3.2 GW, compared to over 5 GW capacity added during the same period of 2018.

Solar power generation peaked in the summer months of March, April, and May of 2019 with over 4 BUs.

India’s transition towards renewable energy presents an incredible opportunity but also serious challenges. Solar project developers in the country continue to face curtailment issues in states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka.

Recently, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) issued a letter to the chief secretaries of all states and union territories, asking them to ensure that ‘must run’ status has been accorded to both wind and solar power projects in the states in line with the Indian Electricity Grid Code 2010 and the Electricity Act 2003. However, it remains to be seen what the MNRE can do if states continue to violate the must-run status rules. This challenge, which is becoming widespread, has started to affect the solar generation and needs to be addressed immediately to the meet solar installation goals by 2022.