India’s largest power generator NTPC Limited achieved a unique feat that signals the company’s direction in the future. The company reported over 100 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of solar power generation in a month for the first time ever, achieved in August 2017.
According to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), solar power plants owned by NTPC across the country generated a total of 103 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in August 2017. This was a 14.4% increase from the electricity generated in July 2017. India’s total solar power generation between July and August 2017, on the other hand, increased by a measly 0.3%.
The small increase in India’s total solar power generation between July and August 2017 could be explained by the heavy rainfall in the southern region where a large majority of the country’s solar power capacity is installed. The same is reflected in NTPC’s own generation in the southern region. Solar power generation from NTPC projects in 2017 in the southern region has declined from a high of 41 million kilowatt-hours in March to 32 million kilowatt-hours in August.
NTPC’s solar power generation during the first 8 months of 2017 was 657 million kilowatt-hours, up 237% compared to the generation during the same period in 2016. In comparison, India’s total solar power generation increased 87%, from 6,977 million kilowatt-hours to 13,020 million kilowatt-hours during the first 8 months.
The southern region remains the largest contributors to NTPC’s total solar power generation. During the first 8 months, the company’s solar power projects in the southern region generated 298 million kilowatt-hours, representing a share of 45%; this was closely followed by projects in the northern region where the total generation was 230 million kilowatt-hours, or 35% of the company’s total generation.
NTPC owns some of the largest solar power parks in the country in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Karnataka. At 103 million kilowatt-hours in August 2017, NTPC’s solar power generation is more than that of the entire eastern region and north-eastern region; this signifies the size of NTPC’s solar power portfolio which it plans to increase to 15 gigawatts over the next few years.