India added a total (net) of 17.6 gigawatts power generation capacity in 2018, a record percentage (74%) of that capacity was based on renewable energy technologies — primarily solar power. The huge capacity coming online from renewable energy sector has made 2018 the greenest year in terms of new capacity addition so far.
Of the 17.6 gigawatts of total capacity added last year, 4.1 gigawatts came from fossil fuel-based technologies (various forms of coal and natural gas), around 435 megawatts were contributed by large hydro, and 13.1 gigawatts came from renewable energy technologies. Hydro power projects with installed capacity over 25 megawatts are not classified as renewable energy projects. Solar power projects with total capacity of 8.9 gigawatts and wind energy projects of 2.2 gigawatts were commissioned last year.
Thus, in the total capacity addition, solar power had an impressive share of 50%, while wind energy had a share of 12%. New capacity added in the fossil fuel sector shrunk to 24%, this was, however, marginally higher from the 21% witnessed in 2017.
The net capacity addition in H2 2018 declined sharply from 12.7 gigawatts added in H1 2018, but showed marginal improvement when compared with the capacity added in H2 2017 (3.3 gigawatts). The low capacity addition was the result of a massive crash in new capacity added in the fossil fuel sector, and subdued growth in the solar and wind energy sectors. Only 335 megawatts of net capacity added in the fossil fuel sector.
Still the share of renewable energy in the net overall capacity addition was an incredible 93% in H2 2018, the best in a half-yearly period when there was a net positive addition in the fossil fuel sector. Of the net capacity addition of 4.9 gigawatts, 4.6 gigawatts came from renewable energy capacity. The share of solar power was 59%, wind 15%, and fossil fuel 6%.
The sharp rise in renewable energy capacity addition last year reflected well in the share of low-carbon power generated. The share of renewable energy in overall power generation in India stands at an all-time high of 9% for the period of January-November 2018, with final numbers for December awaited. Q3 2018 saw the record-breaking share of wind and overall renewable energy technologies in overall power generation at 8.2% and 11.9%, respectively. Q3 2018 also marked the first quarter ever when the share of renewable energy crossed 10% in the overall power generation in India.