India's renewable capacity addition jumps 49% to 1,629 MW in H1

India's renewable energy sector has reported significant growth in cumulative renewable energy capacity during the first half of this fiscal, with addition of 1,629 MW in April-September 2015-16, a 49-per cent increase compared with the addition of 1,094 MW in the same period of the previous year.

However, capacity addition during the first half of the fiscal was only about 37 per cent of the target set for this fiscal.

The ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) has fixed capacity addition target of 4,460 MW for this fiscal.

Of this, wind is expected to contribute 2,400 MW, followed by solar (1400 MW), small hydro (250 MW), Bio-power (400) and waste-to-power (10MW).

India's cumulative installed grid-interactive renewable energy capacity stood at 37,414 MW as of 30 September 2015.

During H1 of this fiscal, wind sector contributed about 933 MW (865 MW in H1 of last year) and solar sector added 593 MW (135 MW), while the rest was contributed by small hydro and waste-to-power segments at 92 MW and 12 MW, respectively, figures released by the ministry showed.

Besides, 58 MW of off-grid/ captive power generation capacity was also added during the period.

Wind sector accounted for 65 per cent (24,376 MW) of India's overall renewable power generation capacity.

Solar has contributed 4,345 MW, while bio-power (comprising biomass and gasification and bagasse cogeneration), small hydro and waste to power contributed 4,419 MW, 4,147 MW and 127 MW, respectively.

Going by MNRE figures on upcoming solar capacities under various schemes, it is estimated that the solar sector itself may see an addition of over 4,000 MW by March 2016, which will be the highest ever annual addition of capacity in the segment.

In 2014-15, renewable sector surpassed the target after missing the capacity addition target in the previous two years.

The share of renewable energy in overall power capacity addition in the country was 15 per cent.

''India has among the highest solar market potential and has a pipeline of 15 GW of solar capacity that is expected to catapult it to the third largest global solar market over the next two years. Through various policy measures such as reverse auctions and government owned solar parks, India has been able to bring down the cost of solar power and address some daunting operational challenges. These policy measures mean that India can showcase solar, in particular, to emerging markets and lead the way in sector development,'' according to Tobias Engelmeier, Founder, Bridge to India, solar energy consulting firm.

''However, India needs to build expertise in low cost manufacturing, grid-integration of renewables and smart grid management. Coordinating R&D efforts and coming up with a credible technology sharing process can bring measurable benefits for all stakeholders,'' he added.