India's Solar Power Growth Hits 6-Year Low Amidst Increased Reliance on Coal

Solar power generation increased to 63.6 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), which marks a 14.7 per cent rise compared to the corresponding period of last year
Solar Power generation
Solar Power generation

India's solar power generation reportedly witnessed its slowest growth in six years during the first half of the current year, as per data from the federal grid regulator. This comes as the country increased its reliance on coal to meet rising power demand during heatwave.

According to a report by Reuters, the world's fastest-growing economy is increasingly inclining towards coal in order to meet the rising power demand in recent years. In fact, last year, coal-fired power generation surpassed renewable energy output for the first time since the Paris Agreement in 2015.

A review of daily load dispatch data from Grid-India revealed that electricity generated from coal surged by 10.4 per cent during the first half of CY24, surpassing the overall power generation growth of 9.7 per cent during the same period.

On the other hand, solar power generation increased to 63.6 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), which marks a 14.7 per cent rise compared to the corresponding period of last year and an 18.5 per cent increase over the entire year of 2023.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the fuel consumption patterns in India have mirrored regional trends. Countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Bangladesh have also turned to coal to produce affordable electricity.

In the first half of 2024, fossil fuels accounted for nearly 77.1 per cent of power output, up from 76.6 per cent recorded in the corresponding period of last year. India is expecting a strong acceleration in total electricity generation for FY25, primarily driven by by an 8.9 per cent increase in coal-fired power output, which is expected to outpace the 8.2 per cent growth figure in renewable energy.

Meanwhile, analysts are predicting that renewable energy generation will accelerate from the upcoming fiscal year, as the tendering and commissioning of green energy projects gain momentum, the report said.

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