Solar Energy Becomes Largest Source of New Electricity Capacity in India

The solar sector has surpassed coal as the largest generator of new electricity in India, accounting for 39 percent of new electricity production in 2017, according to new data.

So far this year, India has added 7,100 megawatts of new solar electricity capacity, a significant increase over the 4,313 megawatts of solar electricity capacity added in 2016, according to Mercom Capital Group, a U.S-based research and consulting firm. The expansion of solar power generation comes as the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi vows to install 175 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2022, with 100 gigawatts coming from solar energy. A recent report has estimated that India’s demand for coal will peak in 2027.

Earlier this week, the World Bank announced that it will provide the Indian government with $100 million in loans and grants to help build utility-scale solar installations throughout the country.

Despite these developments, the Indian solar energy sector still faces some significant obstacles, including a lack of power transmission infrastructure. Currently, about 1,000 megawatts of solar energy projects are idle because they are not connected to the grid.