Renewable energy in India

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Solar Power Plant Telangana II in state of Telangana, India

India is one of the countries with large production of energy from renewable sources. As of 27 November 2020, 38% of India's installed electricity generation capacity is from renewable sources (136 GW out of 373 GW).

In the Paris Agreement India has committed to an Intended Nationally Determined Contributions target of achieving 40% of its total electricity generation from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.[1][2] The country is aiming for even more ambitious target of 57% of the total electricity capacity from renewable sources by 2027 in Central Electricity Authority's strategy blueprint.[3] According to 2027 blueprint, India aims to have 275 GW from renewable energy, 72 GW of hydroelectricity, 15 GW of nuclear energy and nearly 100 GW from “other zero emission” sources.[4][3]

Government of India has also set a target for installation of Rooftop Solar Projects(RTP) of 40 GW by 2022 including installation on rooftop of houses.

As of September 2020, 89.22 GW is already operational, projects of 48.21 GW are at various stages of implementation and projects of 25.64 GW capacity are under various stages of bidding.

India was the first country in the world to set up a ministry of non-conventional energy resources (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE)), in the early 1980s, and its public sector undertakings the Solar Energy Corporation of India is responsible for the development of solar energy industry in India. Hydroelectricity is administered separately by the Ministry of Power and not included in MNRE targets.

India has a strong manufacturing base in wind power with 20 manufactures of 53 different wind turbine models of international quality up to 3 MW in size with exports to Europe, the United States and other countries.[5] Wind or Solar PV paired with four-hour battery storage systems is already cost-competitive, without subsidy, as a source of dispatchable generation compared with new coal and new gas plants in India.[6]

Renewable energy overview and targets[edit]

Installed grid interactive renewable power capacity in India as of 30 September 2020 (excluding large hydro)[7][8]
Wind power in IndiaSolar power in IndiaBiofuel in IndiaSmall Hydro PowerWaste-to-PowerCircle frame.svg
  •   Wind Power: 38,124.15 MW (42.7%)
  •   Solar Power: 36,050.74 MW (40.4%)
  •   Biomass Power: 10,145.92 MW (11.4%)
  •   Small Hydro Power: 4,739.97 MW (5.3%)
  •   Waste-to-Power: 168.64 MW (0.2%)

India is running one of the largest and most ambitious renewable capacity expansion programs in the world. In 2019 at UN climate summit, India announced that it will be more than doubling its renewable energy target from 175GW by 2022 to 450GW of renewable energy by the same year.[9] Newer renewable electricity sources are projected to grow massively by nearer term 2022 targets, including a more than doubling of India's large wind power capacity and an almost 15 fold increase in solar power from April 2016 levels. These targets would place India among the world leaders in renewable energy use and place India at the centre of its "Sunshine Countries" International Solar Alliance project promoting the growth and development of solar power internationally to over 120 countries. Energy plays a vital role in the economic development of all countries. India ranks second position in terms of population that accounts to 17% of world’s overall population. The increase in standard of living and population in India makes India to rank third place in consumption of energy in the globe. As fossil fuels are depleting and creating more pollution causing global warming, and also since energy demand is increasing day by day, energy production from renewable energy resources becomes the best solution in present condition as renewable energy resources are not exhaustible, clean, and green energy.

The government target of installing 20 GW of solar power by 2022 but it was achieved four years ahead of schedule in January 2018, through both solar parks as well as roof-top solar panels.[5] India then set a new target of achieving 100 GW of solar power, 60GW of wind power, 10GW of bio mass and 5GW of small hydro power by 2022. Three of the top Five largest solar parks worldwide are in India including the second-largest solar park in the world at Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, with a capacity of 1000 MW. The world's largest solar power plant[10], Bhadla Solar Park is in Rajasthan with a capacity of 2255 MW.

The 2022 electrical power targets include achieving 227GW (earlier 175 GW) of energy from renewable sources - nearly 113 GW through solar power, 66 GW from wind power, 10 GW from biomass power, 5GW from small hydro and 31GW from floating solar and offshore wind power.[11] The bidding process for the further additional 115 GW or thereabouts to meet these targets of installed capacity from January 2018 levels will be completed by the end of 2019–2020.[12] The government has announced that no new coal-based capacity addition is required beyond the 50 GW under different stages of construction likely to come online between 2017 and 2022. With the expansion of renewable power generation capacity, the outstanding payment dues from the power purchasers are also increasing due to their weak purchasing capacity.[13]

Unlike most countries, until 2019 India did not count large hydro power towards renewable energy targets as hydropower was under the older Ministry of Power instead of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. This system was changed in 2019 and the power from large hydropower plants is since also accounted for. This was done to help the sale of the power from the large Hydropower plants, as this reclassification has made such plants able to sell their power under the Renewable Energy Purchase Obligation. Under the Renewable Energy Purchase Obligation, the DISCOMs (Distribution Company) of the various states have to source a certain percentage of their power from Renewable Energy Sources under two categories Solar and Non-Solar. The power from the large Hydropower plants now classifies under the Non-Solar Renewable Energy Category.

Installed grid interactive renewable power capacity (excluding large hydropower) as of 30 September 2020
Source Total Installed Capacity (MW) 2022 target (MW)
Wind power 38,124.15 60,000
Solar power 36,050.74 100,000
Biomass power
(Biomass & Gasification and Bagasse Cogeneration)
10,145.92 *10,000
Waste-to-Power 168.64
Small hydropower 4,739.97 5,000
TOTAL 89,229.42 175,000

* The target is given for "bio-power" which includes biomass power and waste to power generation.

Installed grid power capacity from all sources in India as of 31 March 2020
Coal: 205,134.5 MW (55.4%)Renewable, except large Hydroelectric: 87,027.68 MW (23.5%)Large Hydro: 45,699.22 MW (12.3%)Gas: 24,955.36 MW (6.7%)Nuclear: 6,780 MW (1.8%)Diesel: 509.71 MW (0.1%)Circle frame.svg
  •   Coal: 205,134.5 MW (55.4%)
  •   Renewable, except large Hydroelectric: 87,027.68 MW (23.5%)
  •   Large Hydro: 45,699.22 MW (12.3%)
  •   Gas: 24,955.36 MW (6.7%)
  •   Nuclear: 6,780 MW (1.8%)
  •   Diesel: 509.71 MW (0.1%)

The figures above refer to newer and fast developing renewable energy sources and are managed by the Ministry for New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). In addition as of 31 March 2018 India had 45.4 GW of installed large hydro capacity which comes under the ambit of Ministry of Power.

In terms of meeting its ambitious 2022 targets, as of 31 March 2017, wind power was more than halfway towards its goal, whilst solar power was below 13% of its highly ambitious target, although expansion is expected to be dramatic in the near future. Bioenergy was at just above 80% mark whilst small hydro power was already 85% of the way to meet its target. Overall India was at 33% towards meeting its 2022 renewable installed power capacity target of 175 GW. The total breakdown of installed grid connected capacity from all sources including large hydro was as follows:

Grid connected installed capacity from all sources as of 31 March 2020[14]
Source Installed Capacity (MW) Share
Coal 205,134.50 55.43%
Large hydro 45,699.22 12.35%
Other renewables 87,027.68 23.51%
Gas 24,955.36 6.74%
Diesel 509.71 0.14%
Nuclear 6,780.00 1.83%
Total 370,106.46 100.00%

The fast growing renewable energy sources under the responsibility of the Ministry for New and Renewable Energy exceeded the installed capacity of large hydro installations. This figure is targeted to reach 175 GW by 2022. Coal power currently represents the largest share of installed capacity at just under 194 GW. Total installed capacity as of 30 June 2019, for grid connected power in India stood at a little under 358 GW.

Off-grid renewable energy[edit]

Off-grid power as of 31 July 2019 (MNRE) Capacities in MW(EQ)[15]
Source Total Installed Capacity (MW)
SPV Systems 919.15
Biomass Gasifiers 166.17
Waste to Energy 180.35
TOTAL 1,265.67
Other Renewable Energy Systems
Family Biogas Plants (in Lakhs) 50.28
Water mills / micro hydel (Nos.) 2,690/72

Renewable electricity generation[edit]

Total renewable energy which includes large hydro with pumped storage generation, is nearly 17.5% of total utility electricity generation in India during the year 2017–18.[16][17] Solar, wind and run of the river hydro being must run power generation and environment friendly, base load coal fired power is transforming in to load following power generation.[18] In addition, renewable peaking hydro power capacity also caters peak load demand on daily basis.

Year wise renewable energy generation (GWh)[19]
Source 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-2020
Large Hydro 129,244 121,377 122,313 126,134 135,040 155,970
Small Hydro 8,060 8,355 7,673 5,056 8,703 9,366
Solar 4,600 7,450 12,086 25,871 39,268 50,103
Wind 28,214 28,604 46,011 52,666 62,036 64,639
Bio mass 14,944 16,681 14,159 15,252 16,325 13,843
Other 414 269 213 358 425 366
Total 191,025 187,158 204,182 227,973 261,797 294,288[20]
Total utility power 1,105,446 1,168,359 1,236,392 1,302,904 1,371,517 1,385,114
% Renewable power 17.28% 16.02% 16.52% 17.50% 19.1% 21.25%

Hydroelectric power[edit]

India is the 5th globally for installed hydroelectric power capacity.[21] As of 31 March 2020, India's installed utility-scale hydroelectric capacity was 45,699 MW, or 12.35% of its total utility power generation capacity.[14]

Additional smaller hydroelectric power units with a total capacity of 4,380 MW (1.3% of its total utility power generation capacity) have been installed.[22][14] Small hydropower, defined to be generated at facilities with nameplate capacities up to 25 MW, comes under the ambit of the Ministry of New and Renewable energy (MNRE); whilst large hydro, defined as above 25 MW, comes under the ambit of Ministry of Power.[23][24]

India is endowed with vast potential of pumped hydroelectric energy storage which can be used economically for converting the non-dispatchable renewable energy like wind, solar and run of the river hydro power in to base /peak load power supply for its ultimate energy needs.[25][26]

Wind power[edit]

The largest wind farm of India in Muppandal, Tamil Nadu.
Mean wind speed in India.[27]

The development of wind power in India began in the 1990s, and has significantly increased in the last few years. Although a relative newcomer to the wind industry compared with Denmark or the US, domestic policy support for wind power has led India to become the country with the fourth largest installed wind power capacity in the world.[28]

As of 30 June 2018 the installed capacity of wind power in India was 34,293 MW,[7] mainly spread across Tamil Nadu (7,269.50 MW), Maharashtra (4,100.40 MW), Gujarat (3,454.30 MW), Rajasthan (2,784.90 MW), Karnataka (2,318.20 MW), Andhra Pradesh (746.20 MW) and Madhya Pradesh (423.40 MW)[29] Wind power accounts for 10% of India's total installed power capacity.[30] India has set an ambitious target to generate 60,000 MW of electricity from wind power by 2022.[31]

The Indian Government's Ministry of New and Renewable Energy announced a new wind-solar hybrid policy in May 2018.[32] This means that the same piece of land will be used to house both wind farms and solar panels.

Some of India's largest wind farms are:

Largest wind farms in India[33]
Number Wind farm Producer State Current capacity
1 Jaisalmer Wind Park Suzlon Energy Rajasthan 1600 [34]
2 Muppandal wind farm Muppandal Wind Tamil Nadu 1,500 [35]
3 Brahmanvel windfarm Parakh Agro Industries Maharashtra 528 [36]
4 Dhalgaon windfarm Gadre Marine Exports Maharashtra 278 [37]
5 Chakala windfarm Suzlon Energy Maharashtra 217 [38]
6 Vankusawade Wind Park Suzlon Energy Maharashtra 189 [39]
7 Vaspet Windfarm ReNew Power Maharashtra 144 [40]

Solar power[edit]

Global Horizontal Irradiance in India.[41]

India is densely populated and has high solar insolation, an ideal combination for using solar power in India. Announced in November 2009, the Government of India proposed to launch its Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change. The program was inaugurated[42] by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 11 January 2010[43] with a target of 20GW grid capacity by 2022 as well as 2GW off-grid installations, this target was later increased to 100 GW by the same date under the Narendra Modi government in the 2015 Union budget of India.[44] Achieving this National Solar Mission target would establish India in its ambition to be a global leader in solar power generation.[45] The Mission aims to achieve grid parity (electricity delivered at the same cost and quality as that delivered on the grid) by 2022.[43] The National Solar Mission is also promoted and known by its more colloquial name of "Solar India". The earlier objectives of the mission were to install 1,000 MW of power by 2013 and cover 20×10^6 m2 (220×10^6 sq ft) with collectors by the end of the final phase of the mission in 2022.[46]

On 30 November 2015, the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and the President of France Francois Hollande launched the International Solar Alliance. The ISA is an alliance of 121 solar rich countries lying partially or fully between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, several countries outside of this area are also involved with the organization. The ISA aims to promote and develop solar power amongst its members and has the objective of mobilising $1 trillion of investment by 2030.[47] As of August, 2019, the Indian Oil Cooperation stated that it wants to invest 250 Billion Rupee in renewable energy projects.[48]

Much of the country does not have an electrical grid, so one of the first applications of solar power was for water pumping, to begin replacing India's four to five million diesel powered water pumps, each consuming about 3.5 kilowatts, and off-grid lighting. Some large projects have been proposed, and a 35,000 km2 (14,000 sq mi) area of the Thar Desert has been set aside for solar power projects, sufficient to generate 700 to 2,100 gigawatts. Solar power in India has been growing at a rate of 113% yoy[49] and now dropped to around 4.34 (6.1¢ US) per kWh, which is around 18% lower than the average price for electricity generated by coal-fired plants.[50][51]

As part of India's ambitious solar programme the central government has set up a US$350 million fund and the Yes Bank will loan US$5 billion to finance solar projects (c. January 2018).[12] India is also the home to the world's first and only 100% solar-powered airport, located at Cochin, Kerala.[52] India also has a wholly 100% solar-powered railway station in Guwhati, Assam. India's first and the largest floating solar power plant was constructed at Banasura Sagar reservoir in Wayanad, Kerala.[53]

The Indian Solar Loan Programme, supported by the United Nations Environment Programme has won the prestigious Energy Globe World award for Sustainability for helping to establish a consumer financing program for solar home power systems. Over three years more than 16,000 solar home systems have been financed through 2,000 bank branches, particularly in rural areas of South India where the electricity grid does not yet extend.[54][55]

Launched in 2003, the Indian Solar Loan Programme was a four-year partnership between UNEP, the UNEP Risoe Centre, and two of India's largest banks, the Canara Bank and Syndicate Bank.[55]


India is an ideal environment for biomass production given its tropical location, sunshine and rains. The country's vast agricultural potential provides agro-residues which can be used to meet energy needs, both in heat and power applications.[56] According to IREDA "Biomass is capable of supplementing the coal to the tune of about 260 million tonnes", "saving of about Rs. 250 billion, every year."[57] It is estimated that the potential for biomass energy in India includes 16,000 MW from biomass energy and a further 3,500 MW from bagasse cogeneration.[57] Biomass materials that can be used for power generation include bagasse, rice husk, straw, cotton stalk, coconut shells, soya husk, de-oiled cakes, coffee waste, jute wastes, groundnut shells and sawdust.

Various Types of Agro field / Industrial Residues[57]
Number Type of Agro residues Quantity(Million Tonnes / annum)
1 Straws of various pulses & cereals 225.50
2 Bagasse 31.00
3 Rice Husk 10.00
4 Groundnut shell 11.10
5 Stalks 2.00
6 Various Oil Stalks 4.50
7 Others 65.90
Total 350.00


In 2018, India has set target to produce 15 million tons (62 mmcmd) of biogas/bio-CNG by installing 5,000 large scale commercial type biogas plants which can produce daily 12.5 tons of bio-CNG by each plant.[58][59] The rejected organic solids from biogas plants can be used after Torrefaction in the existing coal fired plants to reduce coal consumption.

The number of small family type biogas plants reached 3.98 million.[5]

Bio protein[edit]

Synthetic methane (SNG) generated using electricity from carbon neutral renewable power or Bio CNG can be used to produce protein rich feed for cattle, poultry and fish economically by cultivating Methylococcus capsulatus bacteria culture with tiny land and water foot print.[60][61][62] The carbon dioxide gas produced as by product from these bio protein plants can be recycled in the generation of SNG. Similarly, oxygen gas produced as by product from the electrolysis of water and the methanation process can be consumed in the cultivation of bacteria culture. With these integrated plants, the abundant renewable power potential in India can be converted in to high value food products without any water pollution or green house gas (GHG) emissions for achieving food security at a faster pace with lesser people deployment in agriculture / animal husbandry sector.[63]



Ethanol market penetration reached its highest figure of a 3.3% blend rate in India in 2016.[64] It is produced from sugarcane molasses and partly from grains and can be blended with gasoline. Sugarcane or sugarcane juice may not be used for the production of ethanol in India. Government is also encouraging 2G ethanol commercial production using biomass as feed stock.[65]


The market for biodiesel remains at an early stage in India with the country achieving a minimal blend rate with diesel of 0.001% in 2016.[64] Initially development was focussed on the jatropha (jatropha curcas) plant as the most suitable inedible oilseed for biodiesel production. Development of biodiesel from jatropha has met a number of agronomic and economic restraints and attention is now moving towards other feedstock technologies which utilize used cooking oils, other unusable oil fractions, animal fat and inedible oils.[64] Biodiesel and also Biopropane are produced from non-edible vegetable oils, used cooking oil, waste animal fats, etc.[66][67]

Waste to energy[edit]

Every year, about 55 million tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) and 38 billion litres of sewage are generated in the urban areas of India. In addition, large quantities of solid and liquid wastes are generated by industries. Waste generation in India is expected to increase rapidly in the future. As more people migrate to urban areas and as incomes increase, consumption levels are likely to rise, as are rates of waste generation. It is estimated that the amount of waste generated in India will increase at a per capita rate of approximately 1–1.33% annually. This has significant impacts on the amount of land that is and will be needed for disposal, economic costs of collecting and transporting waste, and the environmental consequences of increased MSW generation levels.[68]

India has had a long involvement with anaerobic digestion and biogas technologies. Waste water treatment plants in the country have been established which produce renewable energy from sewage gas. However, there is still significant untapped potential.[69] Also wastes from the distillery sector are on some sites converted into biogas to run in a gas engine to generate onsite power. Prominent companies in the waste to energy sector include:[70]

  • A2Z Group of companies
  • Hanjer Biotech Energies
  • Ramky Enviro Engineers Ltd
  • Arka BRENStech Pvt Ltd
  • Hitachi Zosen India Pvt Limited
  • Clarke Energy
  • ORS Group

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]

Media related to Renewable energy in India at Wikimedia Commons