India’s solar output grows at slowest pace in six years in first half of 2024

By Sudarshan Varadhan and Cassandra Yap

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – India’s solar power generation grew at the slowest pace in six years in the first half of 2024, an analysis of data from the federal grid regulator showed, as the country further stepped up reliance on coal to address surging power demand.

Electricity generated from coal grew 10.4% during six months ended June 30, a review of daily load despatch data from Grid-India showed, outpacing overall power generation growth of 9.7% during the period.

Solar power generation in the third-largest producer of electricity from the sun rose to 63.6 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in the first half of 2024, the data showed, up 14.7% compared with the same period last year and 18.5% in the calendar year 2023.

The world’s fastest growing major economy has prioritised coal to address a surge in power demand in recent years, with coal-fired power output last year outpacing renewable energy output for the first time since the Paris accord in 2015.

The south Asian nation’s fuel use patterns since emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic have largely been in line with trends in the region, with Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Bangladesh all firing up coal for generating inexpensive power.

The share of the fossil fuel in power output rose to 77.1% in the first half of 2024, compared with 76.6% in the same period last year, putting it on track to rise for the fourth straight year.

India expects total electricity generation during the fiscal year ended March 2025 to grow at the fastest pace in over a decade, forecast to be mainly powered by an 8.9% growth in coal-fired power output, outpacing renewable energy growth of 8.2%.

Analysts expect renewable generation to grow faster from the next fiscal year, as tendering and commissioning of green energy projects have started picking up steam.

Moody’s unit ICRA expects renewable energy installations to rise by over a third to 25 gigawatts (GW) this fiscal year ending March 2025.

(Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan and Cassandra Yap; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)


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