Gujarat has become the fourth state to meet RE targets for 2022, but four key states need to speed up significantly

  • New Delhi, India

  • 22 September 2022

Solar is driving India’s renewables growth

Global energy think tank Ember released its latest analysis, showing that by August India had achieved two-thirds of its end of year 175 GW renewables target. Gujarat joined Telangana, Rajasthan and Karnataka in achieving this target. Four states account for the majority of the shortfall, namely Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh.

The analysis shows that solar is becoming mainstream in India. The country has experienced strong solar growth in 2022, with new solar installations rising by 22% in the first eight months of the year compared to the same period last year.

Solar represented 89% of new renewable capacity installations this year. Wind installations only rose by 7% compared to last year, now representing only 10% of all new renewables (RE) installations so far this year. Overall renewable installations also slowed considerably from April 2022, in part due to an increase in the basic customs duty. By July 2022 India saw the lowest level of new installations since June 2020, before picking up in August.

This analysis updates a previous report published in April and introduces a new data tool that tracks the monthly progress of Indian states and union territories on their 2022 RE targets. The data tool uses the state-wise installed RE capacity data, published monthly by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), and includes the latest data to August.

The report highlights four states that have now met their 2022 renewable capacity targets. Gujarat is the latest state to meet its 2022 RE target, surpassing its target in May 2022 and joining Telangana, Rajasthan and Karnataka. Rajasthan overtook Gujarat in March 2022 with the most installed RE. Rajasthan and Gujarat are powering India’s transition. In the first eight months of this year 49% of India’s new solar capacity was built in Rajasthan and 63% of India’s new wind was built in Gujarat. 

The analysis also shows that as of August 2022, India has installed 66% of its RE target to achieve175 GW by December 2022. Just four states account for 61% of the current shortfall (58 GW) to the December 2022 target, namely Maharashtra (11.1 GW), Uttar Pradesh (9.7 GW), Andhra Pradesh (9.2 GW), and Madhya Pradesh (6.5 GW).

What’s more, if these states continue to see such low installation rates, it would take decades for them to reach even their December 2022 target: 20 years for Maharashtra, 80 years for Uttar Pradesh, 44 years for Andhra Pradesh and 55 years for Madhya Pradesh.

While India may not reach 175 GW RES by the end of 2022, its 2030 targets of 450 GW renewables and 500 GW non-fossil capacity are well within reach. However, it would require key states to seize the opportunity and address the barriers to renewables uptake to accelerate their renewables deployment and contribute to the success of national clean energy transition. India’s renewables future is exciting, but it needs more national and local government focus to make it happen.

India’s solar rush earlier this year shows how quickly change can come. It has even led to a record RE capacity addition of 3.5 GW in March this year. In order for India to achieve its ambitious 2030 RE and non-fossil capacity targets, the country needs to consistently hit this all-time record set in March.

Aditya Lolla Senior Electricity Policy Analyst, Ember, Asia