India generated significantly more green, renewable power in the last financial year, as per data released by Central Electricity Authority (CEA) for FY23. Renewable power generation—comprising wind, solar, hydro, biomass, bagasse and others—increased by 19.09% at the end of March 31, 2023. Total green power generation in FY23 was 2,03,552.17 million units against 1,70,912 million units in FY22.
Out of this, wind and solar constituted the majority of renewable power. Wind power generation increased by 4.62% while that of solar increased by 38.82%.
"There has been increase in renewable power in the last financial year but it still constitutes less than thermal power generation which is around 74.25% of the total power generation," said a senior CEA official. He said solar power generation has increased much more than wind as many states have solar power against only a few states which have wind power.
Hydro power generation increased by 6.57%, and again hydro power generation mostly happens in the Himalayan states and a few others, said the official.
"Last year, Karnataka received heavy rainfall and due to this the wind and solar power generation was low during the southwest monsoon period. But in Tamil Nadu, the wind power generation usually starts during the southwest monsoon period, and the state was able to evacuate more wind and solar power as it gets rainfall in November and December," said the official.
He said during the year, the total renewable power capacity touched 168.96 gigawatt, and out of this solar power capacity is 64.38 GW, hydro power 51.79 GW, 42.02 GW wind, and 10.77 GW bio power. Another 82.62 GW of green energy capacity is under implementation, and 40.89 GW is under tender process. The Centre targets 500 GW of renewable power capacity by 2030.
When it comes to using renewable energy, Rajasthan and Gujarat are at the forefront, followed by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Maharashtra—together accounting for 70% of the total green energy adoption in the country. The three states with the slowest adoption of renewable energy are Manipur, Tripura, and Goa, he said.
Solar power generation includes roof top solar power generation. "Roof top solar power capacity also increased in the last financial year. A total of 8,877 megawatt of rooftop solar power capacity was added in the last financial year due to growing awareness among residential consumers and government subsidies for residential segments," said the official.
The grid-connected rooftop solar scheme aims to achieve a cumulative installed capacity of 40,000 MW by March 2026. Under this scheme, a certain amount of subsidy is provided to the residential electricity consumers, he said.
Storage is a big issue for renewable power generation. "Large scale deployment of intermittent renewable power requires storage solutions to address imbalances between supply and demand, and provide more ancillary services," said the official.
He said battery storage is gaining popularity worldwide but its near-term deployment potential in India is limited by several challenges.
Tamil Nadu is the wind power capital of the country with a total capacity of 8,739.015 MW, and in the last financial year, the state's renewable power generation increased by 14.81%. Karnataka, which also generates more renewable power, saw an increase of 3.21%.
"We were able to increase the wind and solar power generation last year in Tamil Nadu as the power demand was high. On several days, we recorded a new high in terms of evacuating solar and wind power," said TNEB chairman Rajesh Lakhani.
"In January, we recorded an all-time high solar power generation. First, on January 11, when 4,480 MW of solar power was generated at 12pm. The previous maximum was 4,317.30 MW recorded on January 1, 2023," said Lakhani.
He said on December 22, 2022, 4,140.54 MW of solar power was generated. "In the last financial year, we were able to record a historic solar generation at least on three days," said Lakhani.
The state started generating more renewable power since the wind power season last year. Wind season begins around May 15 but last year wind power generation began by the first week of May.