As the Central government wants to achieve the target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity (excluding large hydro) by 2022, Karnataka, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu along with Rajasthan and Telangana have emerged engines of clean energy mission in the last three-and-a-half years.

According to the government data, Karnataka has emerged a leader in the clean energy mission as it has produced the largest quantity of solar, wind, small hydro and bio power from April 2017 to December 2020.

Solar power continues to dominate the clean energy chart contributing 76 per cent of the total clean energy produced during this period. Harnessing solar energy is one of the major components of India’s renewable energy strategy. Most parts of India receive abundant solar radiation and the country has an estimated solar energy potential of about 750 GW solar power.

175-GW target

The government wants to meet the target for installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity (excluding large hydro) by producing 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from biomass and 5 GW from small hydro.

So far a cumulative renewable energy capacity of 91.15 GW (excluding large hydro) has been achieved in the country up to December 31, 2020, which includes 37.47 GW from solar, 38.62 GW from wind, 10.31 GW from biomass and 4.75 GW from small hydro power, according to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

The data on the Ministry’s website show that renewable energy has a share of 23.39 per cent (368.98 GW up to February 29, 2020) in the total installed generation capacity in the country. According to the Ministry, India now is at 5th global position for overall installed renewable energy capacity with the installed capacity increasing by 226 per cent in the last five years.

Government’s push

The focus on clean energy is part of the government’s mission to increase the country’s share of non-fossil-based installed electric capacity to 40 per cent by 2030. India’s current energy system is largely based on the use of coal for power generation, oil for transport and industry, and biomass for residential heating and cooking. Bioenergy and most coal supply are produced in the country, while oil and natural gas are mainly imported.

The government has permitted foreign direct investment up to 100 per cent under the automatic route and has wavered Inter-State Transmission System (ISTS) charges and losses for inter-State sale of solar and wind power for projects to be commissioned by June 30, 2023.

Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd (IREDA), as of November 2020, has financed more than 2,700 renewable energy projects in India with cumulative loan disbursements to the tune of ₹ 57,000 crore.