Solar surpasses wind in India

In January, India’s cumulative PV capacity reached 38.8 GW. This was enough to surpass wind and make solar the first renewable energy source in the country.

solar PV resources

The installed solar capacity in India has overtaken wind to emerge as the nation’s top renewable energy producer as of January 2021, according to a report by data analytics company GlobalData.

Solar PV, including ground-mounted and rooftop, reached 38.8 GW in January, compared to 38.7 GW of wind, as per the report, which quoted figures from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

The report expects solar PV to maintain its lead with the government’s focused policy push providing the growth impetus. It estimates solar PV to further grow to an estimated newly-built capacity of 107 GW between 2021-2030 against wind’s likely 64 GW.

Wind energy led India’s renewable transformation for more than a decade. “In a span of six years starting in 2011, solar PV could only reach 40% of the total wind installed capacity in 2016.

However, its installation capacity reached on par with wind by the end of 2020 and then overtook by the end of January 2021,” said Ankit Mathur, practice head of power at GlobalData.

The report cites abundant solar PV resources spread across the various states, declining equipment and development costs, and a smaller gestation period as the other reasons for this exponential PV growth.

Cost has played a key role in solar getting preference over wind. The levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for solar has dropped 85% compared to wind’s 65% fall, it stated.

The solar PV sector is poised to attract new investments as the government plans to provide domestic solar manufacturing a renewed thrust post-Covid-19, Mathur said. This will further strengthen project development activities and consolidate the domestic manufacturing capabilities.

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