For the first time in India’s history solar power generation cross the milestone of 10 terawatt hours in a quarter. The milestone is a testament to the rapid increase in India’s solar power capacity over the last few years given the strong emphasis of the government on promotion of renewable energy technologies.
According to data reported by the Central Electricity Authority, India generated 11.3 terawatt hours (TWh) of solar power during the quarter of January-March 2019. This marks a 16.5% increase from the previous quarter and a huge 57% jump from the same quarter last year.
The share of solar power in India’s overall power generation understandably increased to its highest level ever — 3.4%. The first quarter of every year usually sees a sharp jump in generation due to clear skies during the winter season. The jump in solar power generation also gave a boost to the share of overall renewable energy in the overall power mix to 8.7%, up from 7.3% in Q4 2018 and 7.5% in Q1 2018.
March 2019 saw a sharp jump in generation, to 4.3 TWh, and represented 38% to the quarter’s overall solar power generation. An overwhelming capacity of solar power is located in the southern region which generated 58% of the country’s total solar energy in March 2019. Within the southern region, the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh recorded significant jump in the monthly generation in March but not as much as that of the state of Karnataka which recorded a 52% jump in generation over March 2018. Andhra Pradesh, too, registered a 40% jump in generation over February 2019.
States in the northern region contributed around 19% to the March generation. Here the states of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan registered significant jumps in generation, month-on-month as well as year-on-year. The western region contributed 21% to the national solar energy generation in March. The states of Gujarat and Maharashtra were the star performers recording significant increase in generation over February 2019 and March 2018.
India’s financial year 2018-19 also culminated at the end of March. The total solar energy generation in FY2018-19 was recorded at 38.9 TWh, a 51% increased over the previous financial year. The share of solar energy in the total power mix in 2018-19 was 2.8%, up from 2% in 2017-18.