2017 has been a good year for Indian solar power market, if one compares it with the developments in the coal-based power market. Record solar power capacity has been added in India during the first nine months of the year.
India has reported a solar power capacity addition of 5,759 megawatts in 2017, by 30 September 2017. This is the highest-ever solar power capacity added in a calendar year in India. In fact, the solar power capacity added in the first nine months is more than the capacity added during the entire last year — 4,666 megawatts.
Around 10,140 megawatts of renewable energy capacity has been added during this time, which puts solar’s share at an impressive 57%. India added a net power generation capacity, across all technologies, of 17,011 megawatts in the first 10 months of the year. 34% of this came from solar, and 26% from wind, with the total share of renewable energy at 60%. This is in stark contrast with the current share of renewable energy in the total installed capacity of the country. Renewable energy capacity of 60.1 gigawatts forms just 18% of the total installed capacity of 331 gigawatts.
The first quarter of the year, which was the last quarter of India’s previous financial year, was the best-ever for solar power with a record 3.3 gigawatts capacity installed. Capacity addition crashed to 826 megawatts in the following quarter, before registering a 100% increase in Q3 to 1.65 gigawatts.
Capacity addition usually jumps in the first quarter of each year, however, solar power generation peaks during winter months and developers may rush to install their projects in the fourth quarter. This could lead to further growth in solar power capacity addition in the last three months of this year.
Coal catching up with renewable energy, or solar, seems a bit difficult. Coal-based capacity contracted during the third quarter as several ageing power plants were retired.