Solar Power Overtakes Small Hydro As India’s 3rd Largest Renewable Energy Technology

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Originally published on Solar Love.

Solar power technology in India is increasing at a much faster pace than other renewable energy technologies.

According to the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, solar power has now become the third largest renewable energy technology in India in terms of installed capacity. Installed solar power capacity (grid-connected only) at the end of August 2015 was 4.23 GW. With the addition of 119 MW capacity during August, solar power overtook small hydro power, where only 16.5 MW capacity was added during the month. Small hydro power capacity stands at 4.15 GW at the end of August 2015.

By mid-September, the installed solar power capacity has increased to 4.26 GW.

The MNRE has set a target to add 1.4 GW solar power capacity between April 2015 and March 2016, so around 880 MW capacity is yet to be added during the remaining 6 months of this financial year. If this target is achieved (estimates are that about 4 GW capacity would be added in the financial year), then solar power would also overtake bio-power (i.e., biomass and biofuel cogeneration technology) to become the country’s second largest renewable energy technology. Bio-power installed capacity stood at 4.42 GW at the end of August 2015, with no capacity addition this financial year.

India plans to have 100 GW solar power and 60 GW wind energy capacity installed by March 2022. This means that around 95 GW solar power capacity needs to be added between now and March 2022, while only 36 GW wind energy capacity is to be added during the same period. Solar power would require a capacity addition rate over 2.5 times more than wind energy. Thus, it seems inevitable that solar power would become India’s largest renewable energy technology over the next few years.

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An avid follower of latest developments in the Indian renewable energy sector.

Saurabh has 1037 posts and counting. See all posts by Saurabh

12 thoughts on “Solar Power Overtakes Small Hydro As India’s 3rd Largest Renewable Energy Technology

  • Hope India starts hitting suficient numbers with their renewables and energy efficiency so they can stop building coal plants soon.

  • It is good to see that India values and promotes ALL of its renewables unlike the US that discriminates against hydro, especially Small and Micro hydro.
    Keep in mind though that a kW of solar PV is not the “same” as a kW of hydro. What needs to be considered is the energy produced ( kwh) and not just the installed capacity (kW). It can take 1 kW of hydro to power your house but it takes 6 kW of solar PV to produce equivalent energy.
    Also, a friend of mine that travels to India frequently, says that hydro is preferred over solar PV because in the villages night time lighting is the big electric demand. Obviously solar PV energy would have to be stored ( added cost) to provide this whereas hydro produces dependable 24/7 power without batteries. If you have the water, hydro is the least cost option.

    • I’ve spent a lot of time in India and I much prefer the US’s environmental regulations.

      If you believe the regulations controlling small hydro are poorly decided then get together with others and do the hard lifting of establishing better regulations.

      You do not want the sort of things happening to US streams that is common practice in some other countries.

      • Tell you what Bob, instead of continuing to try and get our Legislators to do something maybe I should push for FERC jurisdiction of ALL grid tied electric generation….after all, it is the Federal ENERGY Regulatory Commission. Maybe it is about time solar PV and wind become FERC’s next victims. They will suffocate them just like they do to Small and Micro hydro. You seem to like regulation for hydro, I’m sure you’ll agree the same level of regulation should apply to solar PV, wind, and the other renewables……that will really help the cause.

        • I don’t understand your position.

          Do you have a small dam or stream on your property you’d like to turn into an energy/income producer and find the permitting process too onerous?

          Why do you have this specific burr in your saddle?

          Solar and wind are, from everything I can tell, adequately and reasonably regulated. Streams are easily fucked up thus require more careful regulation.

          • The burr in my saddle is that in New England, at least, there are hundreds / thousands of abandoned existing hydro sites that could be re-powered to contribute to non-carbon energy production. Regulatory costs kill these Small and Micro sites. Also, some NE states are seriously considering buying hydro from Canada instead of developing their indigenous hydro sources first.

          • Well, find a group that is working to make the regs more reasonable if you think they aren’t. If there’s no group then start one.

          • So right or wrong, or smart or stupid as a policy guide doesn’t matter. If you can convince a mob to go with you then you stand a better chance of getting legislation changed. I agree Bob that this is the way it works…….unfortunately.

      • Bob lets look at figures. Though India’s population is 4-5 times that of US its carbon emmissions are 3 times less than US. So much for regulations.

        • Carbon is not regulated in either India or the US. I was talking about clean air and clean water regulations. I could throw building regs, sanitary regs, food safety reg, and some others in as well.

          Now, carbon. India’s carbon emissions per capita are very low. But there are a lot of people in India and the standard of living is on the rise. A lot of people wanting more electricity.

          In terms of total CO2 emissions per country India is #4 if the EU is counted as one country, #3 if the EU countries are listed separately. India is #3 in global coal use. India worries a lot of people simply because of the size of it’s population. If per capita energy use became as high as even Brazil or Mexico and grew that use with coal it would be a disaster.

          I’m not saying that Indian citizens don’t deserve more electricity, they do. I’m just saying that it is very important that the new energy comes from low carbon sources.

          • first let Indian energy reach a sustainable level.. then reducing carbon emission should take a fast track and usa uses 3 times more coal than india
            I think usa should cut down its carbon emission to bring it closer to brazil and mexico… that would definitely help the world a lot because it still produces 3 times more carbon than India

          • I don’t know what you mean by a “sustainable level”.

            India, and the rest of the world needs to do as much as possible to make any new electricity generation low carbon.

            And all of us need to be closing down the high carbon generation we already have.

            The US has put a very large percentage of the CO2 into the atmosphere over the last 100 years. Europe is another long term large CO2 source. All of the “guilty’ countries need to take their CO2 levels to zero. But so do all the countries who have emitted far less.

            It’s not who did the most, who is the most guilty, and all that. The entire planet is endangered. We have to get this CO2 problem turned around.

            BTW, in case you don’t know the US has been decreasing its CO2 level since 2005. The next two years should show a large decrease as we are closing about 200 coal plants. We’ll be closing about one third of our coal plants.

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