India’s grid-connected wind and solar power capacity reaches 27 GW

India’s grid-connected renewable energy deployment, mainly solar and wind, has reached 27 gigawatt (GW), according to a top official of the ministry of new and renewable energy.

India’s total grid connected power generation capacity is about 215 GW.

However, it must be noted that actual power generated by renewable sources would be much less than the 12.5% share that they have in capacity due to lower utilization levels.

On average, for example, 1 watt of fixed solar panels are estimated to generate only about 1400-1600 units (kWh) of power per year in India. Though higher than places like the US and Europe, where the number is about 1,000 kWh per year, it is much less than the 4,000-6,000 units that each watt of coal generation capacity typically produces in a year. However, fuel costs are close to zero for wind and solar, while they are substantial for the other forms.

R.P. Watal, Secretary to the MNRE said India plans to add another 25 GW to its wind and solar power generation capacity by 2017, doubling total capacity to about 50 gigawatt.

Globally, out of about 5,000 gigawatt of power generation capacity, solar PV accounts for about 100 GW, or about 2%.

However, in terms of actual power produced, it accounts for less than half a percent of the total 22,000 terra watt hours (tWh) produced.

India produced about 1,100 tWh last year with its 215 GW of capacity

The MNRE said that grid-balancing problems have limited India’s deployment of grid-connected solar and wind power plants, and the country is in talks with Germany, which has state-of-the-art technology in this field, to obtain the know-how.

India targets to increase its solar power capacity to about 10 GW by 2017 from about 1.2 GW at the end of 2012.