India’s leading Industrialised states continue to lead the solar push also

Highlights :

  • The actions of the country’s leading industrialised states — Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka — will continue to impact its renewable path.
  • Thankfully, all these states and a few more are pushing quite hard to add renewable energy capacity.
India’s leading Industrialised states continue to lead the solar push also

The Indian renewables sector made many a strong effort towards advancement last year, with PM Narendra Modi committing to a new target of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2070. the nation continued to add green power capacity, and the country’s two richest business tycoons laid out plans to invest thousands of crores in the sector.

While it is still chasing the aim of 170 GW by 2022, India has achieved its nationally determined contributions target with a total non-fossil based installed energy capacity of 157.32GW, which is 40.1% of the total installed electricity capacity. Of this, solar, wind and hydropower account for around 48.55 GW, 40.03 GW and 51.34 GW, respectively as of Dec 31, 2021.

The country’s solar sector, which was recently ranked fifth among the world’s most attractive solar markets by IBEF, has been allocated the highest-ever outlay of Rs. 33.7 billion, in the Union Budget, FY 2023, up 30% from Rs. 26 billion in FY21. As their economic budgets for the upcoming financial year are now being announced by Indian states, light is being shed on what shape India’s renewable progress is likely to take in the near future. In focus are the plans of its largest and most industrialised states, as they will continue to define its solar trajectory too. Mirroring the trend seen in many large markets like the US and Australia.

Tamil Nadu, for instance, has achieved the first position in overall installed renewable energy capacity in the country, wresting the top slot back from Karnataka. As of January 31, 2022, Tamil Nadu’s total installed renewable capacity stood at 15,914 MW  according to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).

The state’s total solar capacity increased to 4,894 MW (including ground-mounted, rooftop and off-grid capacity) as of January 31, 2022, from 2,575 MW as of March 31, 2019, while wind capacity grew to 9,857 MW from 8,969 MW during the period.

According to the recently announced Budget FY22-23, the Tamil Nadu government will set up a separate organisation for Climate Change and green initiatives. Funds would be raised from aided institutions. Additionally, 3,000 solar pumps will be set up under the chief minister’s scheme.

Further, Maharashtra’s EV Policy has been approved for the year 2021 to 2025. From 1st April 2021 to 27th December 2021, the registration of electric vehicles in the state increased by 157%. Now, the state government’s target is to increase the share of EVs to 10 per cent in new vehicle registrations by 2025 and the share of public transport in major cities to 25 per cent. The aim is to build 5,000 charging facilities by 2025.

According to the newly announced Budget FY22-23, a total capacity of 577 MW solar power projects will be set up in the state, apart from which, a 2500 MW capacity solar energy park will also be developed. Additionally, an outlay of Rs.9,926 crores is proposed for the Energy Department for programme expenditure.

Since environment friendly natural gas is largely used for domestic piped gas and CNG powered motor vehicles, auto- rickshaws, taxis and private vehicles, it is proposed to reduce the rate of value added tax on natural gas from 13.5 percent to 3 percent to encourage the use of environment friendly natural gas and to provide relief to the citizens. As a result, the state expects to incur a revenue reduction of about rupees 800 Crore.

Notably, the economic survey report mentioned that Maharashtra ranked fifth in India when it came to electricity generation from renewable energy. The report said, “The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission has set a target of achieving 25% electricity generation from renewable energy by 2025.”

Now, Gujarat is racing to become number one with a huge increase in capacity addition in recent months. As of January 31, 2022, the state’s total renewable capacity was 15,518 MW. Gujarat is the topmost state in total rooftop solar installations. Of the total 6,405 MW of rooftop capacity in the country, it accounted for 1,679 MW. Aiding its massive push is the core of India’s ,manufacturing base in solar, that is coming up in the state.

Moreover, Gujarat has identified 1,00,000 hectares of wasteland in the Kutch district to build the world’s largest renewable energy park that may generate an energy of 30,000 MW. This hybrid park will reportedly accommodate wind and solar power plants of 24,800 MW capacity.

Rajasthan and Gujarat added the highest renewable capacity (4.8 GW and 2.4 GW respectively) in the current fiscal year till January 31, 2022,” said Gagan Sidhu, Director, CEEW Centre for Energy Finance. Other renewable resource rich states such as Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh as well as Karnataka added a combined 2.2 GW of capacity during the same period, he explained.

Notably, Karnataka’s solar capacity increased to 7,535 MW as of January 31, 2022, from 6,096 MW as of March 31, 2019, while its wind capacity grew to 5,077 MW from 4,695MW. Its total clean energy capacity now stands at 15,795 MW. This came after a slight lag, when the state found itself with more renewable capacity than it could handle, thanks to the higher costs of its earlier projects.  Among large states, it continues to have the highest share of renewable energy.

Interestingly, overtaking Karnataka, which had held the position since 2018, Rajasthan has now emerged as the top solar state in India with a record installed capacity. As of January 31, 2022, Rajasthan’s total solar capacity crossed 10,000 MW, the first state to achieve this, and stood at 10,507 MW, followed by Karnataka (7,535 MW) and Gujarat (6,310 MW) and Tamil Nadu (4,894 MW). Rajasthan’s overall renewable capacity was 14,983 MW.

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Soumya Duggal

Soumya is a master's degree holder in English, with a passion for writing. It's an interest she has directed towards environmental writing recently, with a special emphasis on the progress being made in renewable energy.