Solar Power Generation in India Sees the Lowest YoY Increase in FY 2019-20

Electricity generated from solar represented 3.6% of the overall power generation


According to the data released by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), solar-generated electricity accounted for 50.1 billion units (BU) in FY 2019-20. This shows a growth of 28% year-over-year (YoY) compared to the FY 2018-19, where the total solar energy generated was 39.3 BUs.

However, the YoY increase was the lowest in the past six years as solar installations have slowed down considerably.

India - Solar Electricity Generation (in BU) and YoY Growth

The quarterly (January-March, 2020) solar power generation reached a high of 15.3 BUs. In January-March, 2019, solar generation was 11.4 BUs, a 33% increase compared to the January-March quarter in 2019.

The solar power generation in March 2020 was 5.6 BUs. During January and February 2020, solar generation was 4.6 BUs and 5 BUs, respectively. Last year, in March 2019, the electricity generated from solar was 4.3 BUs.

India - Solar Electricity Generation by Month (in MU)

During the FY 2019-20, electricity generation from all sources, which includes thermal, nuclear, hydro, biomass, bagasse, wind, solar, and other renewables, accounted for a total of 1,391 BUs.

According to the CEA report, the electricity generated from solar in FY 2019-20 accounted for 3.6% compared to 2.85% in FY 2018-19. It was even less in FY 2017-18, where solar-generated electricity was only 1.98% and just over 1% in FY 2016-17.

Even though solar was the most installed new power generation source over the past three years, in terms of generation, its contribution compared to coal is still very small.

Electricity Generation by Source in FY 2019-20

Wind power generation was 4.65%, while hydro contributed 11.21% to the total power generation in the FY 2019-20.

Looking at the percentage of electricity generated from conventional and renewables sources, renewables, including large hydro, accounted for 21.2% against 78.8% generated from conventional sources, including electricity imported from Bhutan.

Conventional vs Renewables - Electricity Generation %

Compared to the previous two financial years – FY2017-18 and 2018-19 – renewable energy has increased by 3.8% and 2.2%, respectively.

Mercom also reported that, as of March 31, 2020, the country’s total installed power capacity stood at about 372 GW, up from 358.6 GW during the same time last year. Of this, the installed power capacity from renewable sources (including large hydro) accounted for about 134.7 GW, up from about 125.5 GW as of Q1 2019. Solar installations accounted for about 27.2% of the overall renewable capacity.


Image credit: Atlas Renewable Energy