All new power generation capacity added in India in the quarter ending March 2020 was from non-thermal technologies. The new capacity was dominated by solar power, followed by wind power.
According to government data, India added a net capacity of 1.3 gigawatts in the January-March 2020 quarter. The capacity was lowest for the first quarter of the year for at least five years. Net capacity addition in Q1 2019 was 5.6 gigawatts while that in Q4 2019 was 5.4 gigawatts. Thus, new capacity added was lowest in six quarters.
Thermal power sector witnessed a contraction in installed capacity with more retirements than new additions. Coal-based power generation capacity contracted by 0.1 gigawatts to 230.6 gigawatts with no change in installed capacity based on diesel and gas.
The large hydropower segment witnessed an increase of 300 megawatts taking its total installed capacity to 45.7 gigawatts.
Renewable energy technologies once again contributed to the bulk of new capacity addition. 1.1 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity was added in Q1 2020, including 0.9 gigawatts of solar power and 0.2 gigawatts of wind power.
New capacities added under solar and wind sectors were at record lows. Solar power capacity addition was slightly less than 900 megawatts, the lowest since Q3 2017. In Q1 2019 and Q4 2019, India had added 2.2 gigawatts and 2.6 gigawatts of solar power capacity, respectively.
Capacity addition in the wind sector as been low for the last several quarters with over 1 gigawatt capacity addition witnessed only in one of the last 12 quarters.
The general overall trend of declining share of coal and other thermal technologies in India installed capacity mix continues. The share of power technologies based on fossil fuels has contracted from 63.4% in Q1 2019 to 62.3% in Q1 2020. The share of wind power has inched up from 10.0% to 10.2% during the same period. Solar power, however, has seen its share jump from 7.4% in Q1 2019 to 9.4% in Q1 2020. The share of total renewable energy capacity has increased from 21.6% to 23.5%. Around 37.7% of India’s power generation capacity is now based on non-fossil fuel technology.
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