India is slowly inching towards becoming a major force in the world for tapping and harnessing renewable energy with an increase of 226% in installed renewable energy capacity over the last five years across the country. India stands 5th globally in terms of installed renewable energy capacity.
India’s total solar power capacity alone has increased by more than 11 times since the last five years. From 2014 to June 2020, the solar power capacity of India has increased from 2.6 Giga Watts (GW) to 38 GW.
The increase in the solar power capacity started since 2014-15 after the Narendra Modi government revised the target of harnessing solar power across the country. The previous UPA government had set a target of achieving 20,000 MW of grid connected solar power by 2022, which was revised by the Modi government in 2015 to 1,00,000 MW of grid connected solar power. The capacity had been proposed to be achieved through the deployment of 40,000 MW of rooftop solar power projects and 60,000 MW of large and medium scale solar power projects. Since 2015, the installed capacity of solar power projects has been increasing manifold. According to the Ministry of New and Renewable energy, from 1112.08 MW of installed solar power capacity in 2014-15, it had been increased to 9362.67 MW of solar power capacity in 2017-18. However, the installed capacity reduced slightly during the preceding year when 6529 MW of solar power capacity was installed in 2018-19. However, between April 2019 till February 2020, 6884 MW of solar power capacity was installed across various states. Some states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, Telangana and Rajasthan have topped the list of states with the highest capacity installed solar power projects in the country.
As per the “Bridge to India” (a renewable Energy think tank) report of 2020, the total rooftop installed solar power capacity of India stood at 5.5 GW, including the installed solar power projects on residential buildings.
The report also says that India has one of most competitive and lowest per unit cost of solar power in the world. Per unit cost of solar power in India is roughly around Rs 2.47.
The “Bridge to India” report also shows that India is likely to add 60 GW of renewable energy capacity in the next five years including wind power, solar and hydro power projects.
There has also been a 30% increase in the capacity for installed wind power energy ‘s installed capacity. From 2311.78 MW of wind power capacity in 2014-15, it has been increased to 37669.25 MW of wind power energy till 2019-20.
States like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are the states that have shown significant interest in installing wind power energy capacity in the country.
The renewable energy sector has also attracted significant amount of foreign investment over the years, seeing the potential this sector has in India. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the renewable energy sector has gone up from $783.57 million in 2016-17 to $1.2 billion in 2017-18 and then to $1.44 billion in 2018-19. The last 10 years have witnessed an FDI inflow of more than $8.8 billion in the renewable energy sector in India.