India’s Solar Power Stalls As Coal Continues to Dominate

India’s ambitious clean energy plans are hitting a roadblock. Solar power generation, a critical piece of the puzzle, grew at its slowest pace in six years during the first half of 2024. This slump comes as the country leans back on coal to meet its ever-increasing electricity demand.


Data from Grid-India, the federal grid regulator, reveals a stark contrast. Coal-fired power surged 10.4% in the first six months of 2024, easily outpacing the overall power generation growth of 9.7%. Solar, on the other hand, managed a modest 14.7% increase compared to the same period last year. This pales in comparison to the robust 26% growth achieved in the first half of 2023.

India, the world’s third-largest solar power producer, generated 63.6 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in the first half of 2024. While this represents a rise, it falls short of the country’s clean energy ambitions.

This trend aligns with the broader South Asian region. Countries like Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, and Bangladesh are all turning to coal for cheap power generation post-pandemic. In India, the share of coal in power generation has risen for four consecutive years, reaching 77.1% in the first half of 2024.

Looking ahead, India expects its total electricity generation to hit a decade high in the fiscal year ending March 2025. However, this growth is projected to be driven primarily by an 8.9% increase in coal-fired power, outpacing the 8.2% growth anticipated for renewables.

Analysts offer a glimmer of hope. Renewable energy project tenders and commissioning are picking up pace, suggesting a potential rebound in the next fiscal year. Moody’s unit ICRA predicts a significant jump in renewable installations, with a potential rise of over a third to 25 gigawatts (GW) by March 2025.

Reference- Reuters article, Economic Times, Business Standard, Moneycontrol, Grid-India website