India’s renewable power generation capacity increases 22% over last five quarters

India’s renewable energy generation capacity has cross the 20 Giga (billion) watt mark, according to the latest numbers from the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE).

Renewable power generation capacity, which was around 16.8 Gigawatt (GW) at the end of March 2010, has increased by 22.4% to 20.6 GW at present, the ministry said.

The increase is slightly higher than the 2.33 GW added during the year ended March 2010.

The bad news, however, is that the biggest segment, Wind energy, continues to under-perform. It accounted for only around 14.6 GW of installed capacity, under-performing expectations.

Small Hydro Power (less than 25 megawatt) accounted for 3.1 GW out of the total 20.6 and Biomass based power systems accounted for another 2.9 MW of capacity.

All the above figures are for projects connected to the power grid only.

Grid connected solar power generation capacity also increased from around 8 megawatt at the end of March 2010 to 40 MW at present, the ministry said.

The target is to have 1 GW (1000 MW) of grid-connected solar power by March 2013, less than two years from now, a target that looks unlikely to be met now. It has given approvals to hundreds of mega-watts of capacity in the form of a feed-in-tariff scheme for private entrepreneurs under the National Solar Mission.

Though nominally, the total capacity of 20.6 GW in renewables is equal to around 12% of India’s total, in actual production, they account for only around 5% or so due to the fact that actual production is only around a fifth of the capacity.

In solar, full sunlight is available only for a few of the 24 hours of a day, while in wind, the breeze is available only for around 15-20% of the total capacity.