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India Solar Power Output Growth Slows as Coal Generation Jumps

Growth in power generation from solar installations in India declined over the first half of the year while coal generation rose by 10.4% in the period.

Solar output growth was the slowest in six years, data from India’s federal grid regulator cited by Reuters showed. Coal generation, on the other hand, surged in response to an increase in demand. As a result, the share of hydrocarbons in India’s energy mix rose to 77.1% during the six-month period.

India has major ambitions in the solar power space and is already one of the top producers of panels globally. In the first quarter of the year, solar power generation capacity surged by 400%, hitting the highest number of quarterly additions ever recorded, at 10 GW in total.

This has not been sufficient to respond to higher electricity demand during the hot months that followed, based on the grid operator’s data that showed coal was the go-to source of electricity generators used to satisfy demand.

In the first quarter of the year, as solar capacity boomed, so did coal generation, amid a decline in hydropower output. Indeed, coal consumption during the first quarter hit a record, reaching 338 terawatt-hours, according to a report from climate NGO Ember.

The share of coal in India’s power generation jumped to 77% in the first week of April, rising by around 2 percentage points compared to the same period of 2023, per data from the Grid Controller of India cited by Bloomberg at the time. The subcontinent relies on coal for about 70% of its energy needs, despite the buildout of solar as part of transition efforts.

Despite these efforts, India is also supporting expansion in local coal production in order to reduce its reliance on imported coal. Last month, domestic coal production rose by 14.5% to 84.63 tons.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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