During the financial year (FY) 2017-18, India produced approximately 25.90 billion units (BUs) of solar power, according to data released by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA). This was an increase of nearly 92 percent when compared with the preceding financial year of 2016-17.
In FY 2016-17, solar accounted for ~13.5 billion units of electricity produced, up from ~7.4 billion units in FY 2015-16.
Even with impressive year-over-year (YoY) growth, solar accounted for merely 1.98 percent of the total power generated in the country and still has a long way to go. The country’s huge dependence on coal-based projects for power generation was evident with a whopping 79.28 percent share of thermal power in the total electricity generation during the year.
Renewable energy capacity additions continue to gain momentum in India and accounted for 20.32 percent of India’s capacity mix at the end of financial year (FY) 2017-18. This is a substantial increase from the previous 17.5 percent share reported at the end of FY 2016-17, mainly due to the growth in solar. At the end of FY 2017-18, the country’s total installed power generation capacity was 345 GW with renewables accounting for 70 GW of it, making up 20.32 percent. This was a 2.8 percent share increase over fiscal year 2016-17, which had cumulative renewable energy installations of 57 GW, or 17.50 percent of the total energy mix.
Though solar is being installed at a rapid pace, due to a lower capacity factor, the actual electricity generation tends to be much lower compared to a coal power plant.
Recently, a new report by Coal India Limited shed light on the increasing significance of renewable sources, especially solar, which could soon become a key substitute for coal-fired power in India.
In January 2018, Mercom cautioned the market that distribution companies (DISCOMs) in the country could look to coal due to rising solar tariffs and uncertainties in the sector. The proposed 70 percent provisional safeguard duty on solar imports, if levied, has the potential to reverse India’s solar growth trajectory by adding significantly to the price of solar.
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