Solar power is now the main source of renewable energy, surpasses large hydropower


Solar is now the leading source of renewable energy in India, with 46.8 GW of installed capacity. Solar power has overtaken large hydropower, which had an installed capacity of 46.51 GW as of October 31, 2021, according to data from Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker, Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) ).

India’s total installed electricity capacity was 390.17 GW as of October 31, 2021. Of this total, renewable energies, including large hydropower, represent around 149 GW, or 38.2% of the country’s installed capacity. . Solar energy represented 12% of the installed capacity from all sources and 31.47% of the installed capacity of renewable energy. Large hydropower represented 11.9% of the overall installed electrical power.

Solar installations overtook the wind at the start of this year.

Wind, bioenergy and small hydropower accounted for 10.2%, 2.7% and 1.2% respectively of the total installed electrical capacity.

Coal remains in the lead with 202.41 GW of installed capacity, or 51.9% of the country’s total installed electrical capacity.

Power mix


At the beginning of 2019, the Ministry of Energy decided to include large hydroelectric projects of more than 25 MW in the category of renewable energies. At the time, cumulative hydropower facilities amounted to 45.4 GW and accounted for 12.9% of India’s total installed electric capacity. As of October 31, 2021, the cumulative capacity amounts to 46.5 GW representing 11.9% of the installed capacity.

In February 2021, the ministry notified that states must now meet specific renewable energy purchase obligation (RPO) targets, including large hydropower projects commissioned after March 8, 2019, to help achieve the target of 30 GW of hydropower by 2029-30.

NHPC Limited, one of India’s largest hydropower generation companies, owns 15% of installed hydropower projects (6,971 MW out of 46,512 MW). The company is also actively pursuing the implementation of solar energy projects. The company plans to commission an 800 MW project in fiscal year (FY) 2022-23 and 2,500 MW in fiscal year 2023-24.

Solar and hydroelectric projections

According to the CEA, India will likely add 493 MW of hydropower capacity in fiscal year 2021-22 and 1,580 MW in fiscal year 2022-23.

Solar capacity additions for the 2021 calendar year are expected to be around 8-9 GW and over 13 GW in 2022, according to Mercom’s Solar Quarterly Market Update.


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