Lagging behind demand: A slowdown in the growth of solar and renewable energy generation has added to power shortage woes in India | Photo: NTPC

Solar energy generation dropped nearly 25% in September: Report

Reuters analysis of state data showed that India’s solar energy generation growth slowed to 24.7% year-on-year in September from 41% in August. Other key sources of electricity generation also fell in September, the data showed, with hydro declining 5% and gas-fired power falling 31.6% compared with the previous year, Reuters reported. Solar power growth is critical in 2021 as half of India’s 135 coal-fired power plants have fuel stocks of less than three days. India expects the coal shortage to last for up to six months.

At 6.5 GW, India’s solar and wind capacity rose by just 3% last year. Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh added the highest capacity in these 12 months. Rajasthan became the top state in solar installations (utility scale and rooftop) overtaking Karnataka in September, the end of the third quarter 2021. Tamil Nadu was the top wind power state.

Between July 2020 to June 2021, India’s total utility scale renewable power and rooftop solar capacity reached 77,082 megawatt (MW) and 7,701 MW, respectively, the Bridge to India report said. That brought the total share of renewable power in generation to 10.01%, a 1%  year-on-year decrease. 

Maharashtra was the leading state with new installations of 237 MW. Residential segment share in the total rooftop solar market moved up from 9% to 28% in the year.

Renewable energy must triple by 2030 to stop climate change: IEA report

According to the IEA energy outlook 2021, even if all current net-zero pledges by countries were realised, the world would only achieve 20% of the emissions cuts by 2030 required to hit the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. Fatih Birol, IEA executive director, said volatility in energy markets will continue to present a risk unless investment in clean power is tripled over the next decade. Birol pointed out that projected investment in oil and gas was now aligned with the net-zero by 2050 target, but public spending on renewables was only at a third of the future levels required. 

Race to carbon neutrality: China plans renewable mega-hubs ahead of climate talks 

China, already a top renewable energy leader, is set to massively increase its solar and wind capacity. The initiative comes as the nation attempts to quickly ramp up the pace of its low-carbon transition ahead of the COP26.

The first phase would create capacity that’s more than India’s total installed capacity currently, according to BloombergNEF, and it would be able to generate four times as much power as the Three Gorges Dam. While details are scant, construction has already begun, President Xi Jinping said Tuesday. A likely location is western China, and previous unconfirmed reports said half of the total capacity would be constructed by 2025.

Reliance acquires high stakes in solar equipment manufacturing companies worldwide

Reliance group signed an agreement with Shapoorji Pallonji and Company Private Limited to acquire a 40% stake in Mumbai-based solar-engendering company Sterling and Wilson Solar which has executed over 11 GW of solar projects worldwide. Reliance also acquired Norway-headquartered REC Solar Holdings from China National Bluestar Group for $771 million. REC makes solar cells, modules, and polysilicon. The company has also announced an investment of €25 million (~$29 million) in German solar wafer manufacturer NexWafe.

Meanwhile, the Adani Group completed the $3.5-billion acquisition of SB Energy India, which was an 80:20 joint venture between Japan’s SoftBank Group and India’s Bharti Group. The transaction marks the largest acquisition in the renewable energy sector in India. Adani aims to triple the share of renewable power generation capacity in its total portfolio to 63% from the present 21%. Adani currently has an installed renewable energy capacity of 20 GW, while Reliance wants to establish 100 GW of solar energy by 2030.

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