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.