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From Moderate to Exponential Growth

Aswift transformation has been observed in the renewable energy (RE) sector of India in the past three years in terms of both installed capacity and programme formulation/implementation. The growth has been further pushed up by the encouraging policy regime, precise incentives, and declining trend in the price of photovoltaic module. Every segment of RE, that is, solar, wind, biomass, small hydro, and biopower, have been focussed in a mission Up-scaling of the target for overall renewable energy capacity by more than five times to 175 GW by the year 2022, which includes 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from bio-power, and 5 GW from small hydro-power, has energized the RE sector. Pankaj Saxena and Rahul Rawat highlight the major achievements in the solar and wind sectors during the last three years and the future for the sector. mode to fulfil the objective of providing sustainable power to all households. The steps towards achieving the enhanced targets are in line, such as international cooperation, launch of new schemes, generation of trained work force, proper evacuation of power, and regulations for quality control. Apart from the fact that everyday new strides are being taken within the country in the RE sector, India is playing a pivotal role in the international arena as well. International Solar Alliance was launched as a special platform for mutual cooperation among 121 solar resource-rich countries lying fully or partially between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn at CoP21 in Paris on November 30, 2015, to develop and promote solar energy, with its headquarter in India. The scaling up of the targets for solar energy requires a skilled workforce for installation and maintenance of the systems. A programme was launched to provide training to 50,000 personnel in five years, of which more than 11,000 Suryamitras have been trained so far and about 8,400 Suryamitras trained in FY 2016/17. The growth of 115% has been achieved with capacity addition of 25,287 MW grid-connected renewable power during last three and a half years (2014/15 to 2016/17 and up to September 30, 2017), as compared to 11,746 MW installations during preceding three years (2011/12 to 2013/14). The cumulative installed capacity of grid-connected renewable power has reached 60,157 MW at the end of September 2017, which accounts for 18.26% of installed capacity from all resources. The 60,157 MW installed grid-connected renewable power capacity includes 32,700 MW from wind, 14,771 MW from solar, 4,380 MW from small hydro, and 8,295 MW from bio resources. The electricity generation by RE sources has also increased enormously from 61.78 BU (5.56% of total generation) during 2014/15 to 81.86 BU (6.59% of total generation) during 2016/17. Green energy corridor of over 8,553 ckt-km (circuit kilometres) of transmission lines is being set up with `38,000 crore to facilitate smooth evacuation of renewable power from generation stations to load centres. Figures 1 to 3 summarize the major developments in the RE sector.The major achievements in the solar and wind sector made during the last three years (as on March 31, 2017) are summarized as under:


The National Solar Mission (NSM) was launched in 2010 with a target of deploying 20 GW of grid-connected solar power by 2022 and to reduce the cost of solar power generation in the country through: (i) long-term policy; (ii) largescale deployment goals; (iii) aggressive R&D; and (iv) domestic production of critical raw materials, components, and products in order to achieve grid tariff parity by 2022. The foundation of the solar sector, in terms of policy, market, and R&D, laid by the NSM in the country over the period enables aggressive revision of the initial target of 20 GW to 100 GW by year 2022. The achievement of 363% has been made with capacity addition of 12,319 MW grid-connected solar power during last three and a half years (2014/15 to 2016/17 and up to 30.9.2017), as compared to 2,621 MW installations during preceding three years (2011/12 to 2013/14). The major milestones achieved during last three years are as follows:

  • Biggest ever solar power capacity addition of 5,526 MW in 2016/17, which is 83% more than the last year’s achievement of 3,019 MW.
  • Seven national schemes launched to promote grid-connected solar power projects that cover the major sectors, that is, defence, railways, airports, ports, educational institutions, canal banks and canal tops, government, industry, private, residential sectors.
  • Under solar park scheme, 34 solar parks in 21 states with aggregate capacity of 20,000 MW are sanctioned, of which 7,600 MW bided out and 70,000 acres land acquired. Encouraged with the success of solar park, the Government has approved another 20,000 MW capacity addition through solar parks. The levelized tariff reached to the lowest level of Rs3.30/kWh at Rewa Solar Park in Madhya Pradesh, which is approaching close to grid parity.
  • The Ministry launched the scheme in January 2015 to set up 1,000 MW of grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) power project by Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs) and government organizations with viability gap funding (VGF). The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) had allocated 1,037.26 MW capacity to 16 CPSUs/ government organizations within the sanctioned funds of Rs1,000 crore for this scheme.
  • A new scheme of Rs 5,000 crore for grid-connected solar rooftop system was launched in June 2014 and capacity addition of 790 MW has been achieved as on Sept. 30, 2017. All states/union territories notified netmetering/feed-in-tariff to encourage solar rooftop plants. A dedicated portal, SPIN and a mobile app was launched for solar rooftops. A total sanction of $1,300 million has been received from World Bank, KfW, ADB, and NDB through which the SBI, PNB, Canara Bank, and IREDA will be in the position to fund at the rate of less than 10%. The world’s largest 12.5 MWp solar rooftop system on single roof was installed at Dera Beas, Amritsar, Punjab.
  • During the last 3.5 years, that is, 2014/15 to 2016/17 and up to 30.9.17, a total of 123,919 of solar water pumps were installed, which was a growth of 905% in solar water pumps compared to 12,319 solar pumps installed in the past 24 years since 1991 till 2013/14. So far, over 100,000 solar water pumps have been installed in the country.
  • Over 203 concentrated solar thermal projects with 51,328 sq. m area equivalent to 34.2 MWe aggregate capacity have been commissioned and are expected to save 1.23 million litres of fuel oil and reduce 5,730 tonne of CO2 per year.
  • One million SoULs were distributed during 2014/16 in four Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Odisha, covering 23 districts, 97 blocks, and more than 10,900 villages.


A growth of 67% has been witnessed in the wind power sector power during last 3.5 years with capacity addition of 11,658 MW wind (2014/15 to 2016/17 and up to 30.9.17), as compared to 6,979 MW installations during preceding three years (2011/12 to 2013/14). There was the largest-ever wind power capacity addition of 5,502 MW in 2016/17, thereby exceeding the target by 37%. The cumulative wind power installed capacity has reached to 32,280 MW as on March 2017 against the enhanced target of 60 GW to be achieved by 2022.

The targets for capacity addition could not be achieved for last two years, that is, FY2013/14 and FY2014/15 because both AD and GBI were discontinued from April 01, 2012. Though the GBI was restored in September 2013, the new government, in its first budget announced in July 2014, restored the AD benefit to wind energy sector giving much-needed boost to the sector. The major milestones achieved during last three years are as follows:

  • India ranks fourth in the world after China, USA, and Germany.
  • Wind power potential of the country was estimated to be 302 GW at 100 metre hub height.
  • For the first time, lowest tariff of Rs3.46/kWh was determined through e-reverse auction for 1,000 MW wind power projects.
  • A total of 21 manufacturers with 55 models up to 3 MW wind energy generator size have manufacturing capacity of 10,000 MW/annum.
  • MNRE, in August 2016, released Policy for Repowering of Wind Power Projects with an objective to promote optimum utilization of wind energy resources by creating facilitative framework for repowering.
  • The National Offshore Wind Energy Policy has been notified on October 6, 2015. The policy will provide a level playing field to all investors/beneficiaries, domestic and international.
  • The National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE), Chennai, took upon itself the task of forecasting and scheduling in Tamil Nadu. As a result, the state has evacuated over 11 BU of wind energy in 2016/17 as compared to the 7 BU in the previous year.
  • A scheme was sanctioned to enable DISCOMs of the non-windy states to fulfil their non-solar renewable purchase obligation through purchase of wind power at a tariff determined by transparent bidding process. Under the scheme, 1,000 MW wind power projects are envisaged to be set-up in windy states. The scheme will be implemented by Solar Energy Corporation of India.
  • For optimal and efficient utilization of transmission infrastructure and land, reducing the variability in renewable power generation and thus achieving better grid stability, draft Wind–Solar Hybrid Policy was issued in June 2016.


The growth is expected to continue with the same pace as the MNRE aims to add about 14.5 GW of installed capacity during 2017/18 which includes 10 GW from solar PV, 4 GW from wind, and 0.5 GW from other sources in order to achieve generation target of 8.5% of the total electricity generation. Taking into the account the projected electricity generation from conventional sources by the Central Electricity Authority of India (CEA), about 114 BU of generation is estimated to be required from renewables for achieving target of 8.5%. However, there are several constraints being faced by RE sector that need to be addressed in a time bound manner. The implication of GST, centre– state coordination, timely completion of green energy corridor, RPO compliance, quality of PV modules, and robust monitoring mechanism of projects are some sectors that need to be focussed.

Article courtesy : Shri Pankaj Saxena, Scientist ‘F’, MNRE, and Shri Rahul Rawat, Scientist ‘B’, MNRE, New Delhi.

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