India’s installed renewable energy capacity is among the largest in the world with total deployments of 118 GW as of September 2022. This accounts for roughly 29 per cent of the country’s total installed power capacity. Between January and September 2022, 13.1 GW of renewable energy capacity was added as against 9.5 GW during the same period in 2021.
In March 2022, Rajasthan surpassed Gujarat in terms of renewable energy installations. Gujarat and Rajasthan are driving India’s transformation, with 49 per cent of the new solar capacity being built in Rajasthan and 63 per cent of the new wind capacity installed in Gujarat in the first eight months of 2022. Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra are India’s top five states in terms of installed renewable capacity. These five states account for about 70 per cent of the country’s installed renewable energy capacity. Alongside these five states, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana are the other most important Indian states in terms of installed renewable capacity. The top 10 states account for roughly 90 per cent of the total installed renewable energy capacity in the country.
Renewable Watch takes a look at the top performing states in the country in terms of capacity addition…
Rajasthan has emerged as the leading state across the country in the overall renewable energy segment, with a total installed capacity of 20,099 MW. The state has climbed from the fourth position in the past year to the first, overtaking Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Gujarat. With 15,283 MW of installed capacity, Rajasthan is also the leading state in the solar power segment. The state has also established a robust policy and regulatory framework to promote renewable energy development. Environmental issues have created roadblocks for renewable energy companies, with some projects stalled due to concerns regarding the Great Indian Bustard. However, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and solar developers have projected the cost of shifting power lines underground to be uneconomical. In April 2021, the Supreme Court directed the authorities to shift overhead power transmission lines underground within a year to protect the bird. As of November 2022, the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation announced its plans to build a 1 GW solar power plant in Rajasthan in a move to secure a foothold in the green energy area.
Gujarat is the latest state to meet its 2022 renewable energy target. It exceeded its target in May 2022, joining Telangana, Rajasthan and Karnataka. The state contributes 15 per cent to India’s renewable energy portfolio. Gujarat has the second-largest solar power generation capacity in the country after Rajasthan. As of September 2022, the state has 18 GW of total installed renewable energy capacity, comprising about 8 GW of wind power, 8 GW of solar power, and a small capacity of biomass and small-hydro power. Of this, over 54 per cent is contributed by wind. Last but not least, almost 40 per cent of the total energy capacity in Gujarat comes from renewable energy sources. The state’s renewable energy success has been consistent in recent years. Also, it is not just relying on solar; it is one of the few states that is still building wind, installing 63 per cent of India’s new wind capacity in 2022. All the recent developments taking place in the state point to strong renewables growth in the coming years, especially with offshore wind bids also in the pipeline and regions off the coast of Gujarat being considered for offshore wind development.
Tamil Nadu is one of the windiest states in India and has been a pioneer in harnessing wind energy. The state has a long coastline, which is ideal for setting up wind farms. The state has the third-largest installed renewable energy capacity in India after Rajasthan and Gujarat, with a difference of 2.7 GW between their capacities. As of September 2022, the state has a total installed renewable energy capacity of 17,273 MW, which is about 47 per cent of its total installed capacity. Tamil Nadu also has the highest installed wind power capacity of 9,874 MW. However, the state has also experienced significant activity in the solar power segment. As of September 2022, Tamil Nadu, with 6,233 MW, has the fourth-largest installed solar power capacity in India. The state also has a large biomass power sector, with an installed capacity of over 1,043 MW. Small hydro power projects with a capacity of around 123 MW have also been set up in Tamil Nadu.
Karnataka is one of the leading states in India in terms of installed renewable energy capacity. It has the fourth-highest installed renewable energy capacity in the country after Rajasthan, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. The state has significant potential for renewable energy development, particularly in the areas of solar, biomass and wind energy. As of September 2022, Karnataka has an installed renewable energy capacity of 16,310 MW, which represents 54 per cent of the state’s total installed capacity. Of this, solar energy accounts for the largest share, with 7,859 MW, followed by wind energy (5,268 MW) and biomass energy (1,902 MW). Karnataka is also leading in small-hydro power projects. As of September 2022, the state has an installed small-hydro capacity of 1,281 MW. Furthermore, the Karnataka government announced the new Karnataka Renewable Energy Policy 2022-2027 in April 2022 in order to maintain the state’s position as a preferred investment destination in the renewable energy sector, and to create an ecosystem for sustainable and green energy development. The policy will assist the Indian government in attaining the renewable energy target of 500 GW by 2030, and promote new initiatives and emerging energy technologies in the state.
At 11,422 MW of renewable energy installations, Maharashtra is quite far behind the other four states, with a difference of more than 5 GW between it and Karnataka. However, the state has been making efforts to cover this huge gap and has issued many tenders to invite developers to set up renewable energy capacity. The state has adequate resources for the development of renewable energy sources like wind and solar. It has one of the largest fleets of coal-fired power plants in the country, accounting for 56 per cent of the total power generation capacity. Wind power installation, which is the fourth highest across states, accounts for around 44 per cent of the total renewable capacity in the state. Solar power accounts for the second highest installed capacity among renewables, at 3,392 MW, comprising largely ground-mounted projects, which make up 2,089 MW. In the third place is bioenergy, with a total installed capacity of 2,636 MW, which is the highest state-level total in the country. Small hydro accounts for the remaining 381 MW. The state has launched an ambitious plan to build additional solar plants to produce 12 GW of renewable energy over the next six years in order to increase the amount of accessible power and reduce power purchase costs in the future.
With Andhra Pradesh poised for rapid industrialisation, the demand for power is set to increase manyfold in the coming years. The state has an installed renewable energy capacity of 9,331 MW, which accounts for about 34 per cent of the total installed capacity. The largest contributors to this capacity are the solar and wind segments. While solar power makes up about 48 per cent of the total renewable energy capacity in the state, wind power contributes about 44 per cent. The state is the third largest in terms of installed small-hydro power capacity (162 MW) in India. Wind potential is identified in the 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh, of which coastal regions cover nine districts. As of June 2022, the state approved pumped storage projects proposed by Adani Green Energy with a total capacity of 3,700 MW, giving support to the state’s green energy sector. The government has also signed an agreement with the Solar Energy Corporation of India for the procurement of 7,000 MW of power to continue the free, nine-hour daytime power supply to the agricultural sector for the next 30 years.
Madhya Pradesh is located in central India and is the second-largest state in the country. Endowed with a huge potential and adequate land area for renewable power development, Madhya Pradesh is well positioned to meet its citizens’ energy needs through more clean energy. As of September 2022, the state’s total installed power generation capacity stood at 30,023 MW. Renewable energy makes up about 19 per cent of this power mix, and there are plans to rapidly increase this share in the coming years. The renewable energy capacity in Madhya Pradesh has grown nearly tenfold over the past decade. Solar and wind energy each have a balanced share of about 48 per cent of the total renewable energy capacity of Madhya Pradesh. On the policy front, the state intends to invest Rs 150 billion by 2024 and Rs 500 billion by 2027 in renewable energy generation. The Madhya Pradesh Renewable Energy Policy, 2022 aims for an investment of Rs 40 billion by 2024 and Rs 100 billion by 2027 in renewable energy equipment manufacturing. The state has set a target to generate 20 per cent of its electricity through renewable sources by financial year 2024, 30 per cent by financial year 2027 and 50 per cent by financial year 2030.
Uttar Pradesh is one of the most populous and energy-hungry states in India. The state has been a major contributor to the country’s industrial and economic growth. Given the global focus on green power, Uttar Pradesh has set out to ramp up its clean power capacity. This development is primarily led by solar power, which has proven to be the most conducive source of renewable energy in the landlocked state, situated in the northern plains. The state has a total installed renewable energy capacity of 4.5 GW as of September 2022, with roughly 2 GW of commissioned solar power capacity. Further, with 2 GW of installed capacity, Uttar Pradesh is in the second position after Maharashtra in the bioenergy space, owing to the abundance of sugar industries in the state. Including hydropower, the total installed renewable capacity makes up about 14.38 per cent of the total power capacity in the state. However, the implementation of policy and regulatory measures, possible land use issues, infrastructural gaps to support intermittent power, financial viability of discoms, and political obstacles are some of the significant challenges that Uttar Pradesh’s renewable energy sector must overcome.
Punjab holds a huge potential for energy generation from agro-residues, an alternative model of diversification besides clean energy transition, by tapping solar power even in the agricultural field. The state also has significant potential for the development of renewable energy, particularly solar and biomass. As of September 2022, Punjab has a total installed renewable energy capacity of 1,802 MW, which is about 21 per cent of its total installed power capacity. The state has a total installed solar capacity of 1,127 MW, of which 829 MW is ground-mounted, 223 MW are rooftop, and 76 MW is off-grid. The biomass capacity is 499 MW, which is small but growing. The total small-hydro capacity was 176 MW, and there was no wind power installed in the state. The Punjab government created a draft of its renewable energy strategy in 2019 with the intention of using 3 GW of renewable energy by 2030 to cover 21 per cent of its power needs. However, the state government has not yet finalised this policy.
Haryana is one of the fastest growing states when it comes to solar energy production in north India. It is a large agronomic state with abundant sunlight and biomass. So far, the state has primarily depended on fossil fuels to meet its energy needs. As of September 2022, Haryana’s total installed power capacity is 7,049 MW. The share of installed renewable energy at present is still very small, at just 18 per cent. The total installed renewable energy capacity in Haryana stood at 1,287 MW as of September 2022. Solar power makes up about 74 per cent of the renewable energy mix, while biopower makes up the second-largest share at 20 per cent owing to the dominance of agriculture in the state and the resulting feedstock availability for biomass cogeneration. Small-hydro power is the third-leading source with an installed capacity of 73.5 MW. The state has a large agricultural sector and a growing industrial sector, which compete for land resources. This makes it difficult to find suitable sites for solar and wind projects. In addition, the state’s electricity grid is not well connected to the national grid, making it difficult to transport renewable energy from other states.
The Indian renewable energy sector is expected to continue to grow as the country works to achieve its ambitious targets. While the central government is supportive of the sector, and is providing financial and policy incentives to encourage investment, the st–ates are responsible for ground-level implementation. Thus, going forward, it is required that all states work towards achieving the country’s renewable energy targets and address the existing issues of unpaid dues, land and transmission unavailability and bureaucratic hurdles. While some states have achieved a lot over the past few years owing to enabling policies, addressing the remaining barriers will result in strong growth in the sector.
By Anusshka Duggal