CHENNAI: The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns in 2020-21 year may have left a dent in the renewable energy sector, but a last-quarter bounce-back led by a sharp rise in demand for roof-top solar installations has helped the country’s energy mix lean further away from fossil-fuel driven sources.
According to data from clean energy think-tank Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), out of the 12.1 GW of power generation capacity added in India in financial year 2020-21, renewables alone constituted 7.7 GW 64 per cent.
As of the end of February 2021, renewable power plants account for a full quarter (25 per cent) of India’s total installed power generation capacity at 94.4 GW, up from 23 per cent at the end of FY20. Renewables accounted for a larger share of power generation too, at 10.1 per cent of total power generated-up from 9.4 per cent in FY20.
Among renewables, “solar (grid-scale and rooftop) continues to dominate, accounting for 73 per cent (or 5.5 GW) of the capacity added in FY21,” noted the report from CEEW-Centre for Energy Finance. But while grid-scale solar power projects have consistently been among the largest drivers of renewable power capacity over the past few years, the last financial year has recorded a sharp rise in rooftop solar additions too, helped along by demand from both homes and small businesses.
CEEW-CEF data shows that 1,809 MW of rooftop solar installations were created in FY21 (upto February) compared to just 797 MW in FY20— a 127 per cent jump. In contrast, grid-scale solar capacity additions actually fell (from 6,225 MW in FY20 to 3,773 MW in FY21) due to the disruption caused by the nationwide lockdown and subsequent delays in projects.
Private sector power firms have also observed the spike in rooftop installations, with Tata Power’s CEO and MD Praveer Sinha stating during a post-earnings analysts call that the company has “seen a major uptick in orders and execution” in rooftop solar during the fourth quarter of FY21. Sinha also told analysts that the company has partnered with SIDBI to provide credit for MSMEs seeking to install rooftop solar plants.
Renewables constitute 64% of total capacity
Data from energy think-tank Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), out of the 12.1 GW of power generation capacity added in India in financial year 2020-21, renewables alone constituted 7.7 GW or 64 per cent.