According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), India overtook the continents of North America and Europe, as well as Japan, in terms of solar power capacity added during 2017. This is no mean feat given these continents and countries have several times India’s installed solar power capacity.
India added 9,628 megawatts of solar power capacity in 2017, up from 4,251 megawatts in 2016. The United States added 8,173 megawatts of solar power capacity last year compared to 11,274 megawatts in 2016. The total solar power capacity added in North America (the United States, Canada, and Mexico) was 8,584 megawatts.
All the countries in Europe added a cumulative 5,912 megawatts last year, while Japan added 7,000 megawatts, down from 8,300 megawatts in 2016. We had reported last year that India would be likely to overtake Japan as the third-largest solar power market in terms of new capacity added. However, the slowdown in capacity addition in the United States has put India right behind China.
India is third in Asia in terms of operational solar power capacity, behind China and Japan. China added just over 53 gigawatts of solar power capacity in 2017, and retained the leadership position. Just over 72 gigawatts of solar power capacity was added in all of the Asian countries.
Globally, a total of 93,752 megawatts of solar power capacity was added last year.
India could manage to beat some of the most developed solar power markets globally due to the government’s thrust to push solar power as a major source of power generation. The central government set very ambitious solar power targets which percolated to the states.
India plans to hold auctions for 30 gigawatts of solar power capacity each in FY2018-19 and FY2019-20 in an attempt to reach the 100 gigawatt operational solar power capacity target by March 2022.