Some surprising facts about India’s green energy

Countries and companies alike are focusing a lot of their attention on green technologies, and lately I’ve been reading up on what India is doing to generate power by green technologies. I am interested in this space because I believe that countries that achieve breakthroughs in green technologies will rule this century, and because I hadn’t heard much about what India was doing in this space, I was wondering if in fact India was doing anything at all. What I found surprised me, probably because I knew so little, but I bet as you read on through – a lot of these findings will surprise you as well.

Solar Power

First off,  I was surprised to read that India has got quite an ambitious target of generating 20,000 MW of solar power by 2022 under the Jawahar Lal Nehru Solar National Solar Mission. This plan is split out into phases and the target is to achieve a 1,000 MW of solar energy by 2013 (end of first phase).

I couldn’t find reliable stats on the current solar power generation in the country, but whatever numbers I found indicated that it is quite low  today. While solar power may not be too big right now – there are companies that are working on this like Azure Power which aims to generate 100 MW from Solar Power in the next 3 – 5 years, and Tata Power which plans to generate 50 MW from a solar power project in Gujarat.

How India compares to other countries?

This recent report by Deutsche Bank shows the break-up of renewable electric power generation of various countries.


The chart shows you that Wind and Biomass have the highest presence in India, and incidentally the recent IPO by Orient Green Power also  focuses on this segment.

I keep reading a lot about how well China is doing in this space so I was a little surprised to see that the major contributor for them was Small Hydro, and even they don’t have any solar power. The huge green bar in China also brings me to my next question – what the heck is Small Hydro?

Small Hydro

The other thing that jumps at you from the above chart is small hydro and how China is so far ahead on this. Small Hydro is hydroelectric power generation at  smaller scale of less than 25 MW.  These are classified green because they have low impact due to the minimum reservoir and civil construction requirement.  As you can see from the table below India has has been adding to its Small Hydro generation constantly, but there is still a long way to go as far as catching up with China is concerned.

Year Target

(in MW)

Capacity addition during the year

(in MW)

Cumulative SHP installed capacity

(in MW)

2002-03 80 80.39 1519.28
2003-04 80 84.04 1603.32
2004-05 100 102.31 1705.63
2005-06 130 120.80 1826.43
2006-07 160 149.16 1975.59
2007-08 200 205.25 2180.84
2008-09 250 248.93 2429.77

As far as states go, Karnataka is doing way better than anyone else as seen in the numbers below:

Sl. No.


Projects Installed Projects under Implementation
Nos. Capacity (MW) Nos. Capacity (MW)
1 Andhra Pradesh 59 180.83 12 21.50
2 Arunachal Pradesh 81 61.32 43 25.94
3 Assam 4 27.1 4 15.00
4 Bihar 12 54.60 4 3.40
5 Chattisgarh 5 18.050 1 1.00
6 Goa 1 0.050
7 Gujarat 2 7.000 2 5.60
8 Haryana 5 62.700 1 6.00
9 Himachal Pradesh 79 230.915 9 26.75
10 J&K 32 111.830 5 5.91
11 Jharkhand 6 4.050 8 34.85
12 Karnataka 83 563.45 14 85.25
13 Kerala 19 133.87 2 3.2
14 Madhya Pradesh 10 71.16 4 19.90
15 Maharashtra 29 211.325 5 31.20
16 Manipur 8 5.450 3 2.75
17 Meghalaya 4 31.030 3 1.70
18 Mizoram 18 24.470 1 8.50
19 Nagaland 10 28.670 4 4.20
20 Orissa 8 44.300 6 23.93
21 Punjab 29 123.900 2 18.75
22 Rajasthan 10 23.850
23 Sikkim 16 47.110 2 5.20
24 Tamil Nadu 15 90.050 4 13.00
25 Tripura 3 16.010
26 Uttar Pradesh 9 25.100
27 Uttarakhand 93 127.92 33 40.35
28 West Bengal 23 98.400 16 79.25
29 A&N Islands 1 5.250
Total 674 2429.77 188 483.23


To place these numbers in context you need to know how much does renewable energy contribute to the total?

The current installed base of renewable energy is 10.12% of the total installed base, which is a bit higher than I thought it would be, but as far as potential goes, it can be scaled up quite a bit.

I sure hope this percentage goes up in future, and as does the absolute value of total electricity generated. This is an area which deserves a lot of attention and interest from policy makers, private companies and general public alike, but unfortunately gets very little attention from anyone at all.

After all, how many of you knew about the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy ?

6 thoughts on “Some surprising facts about India’s green energy”

  1. Really nice article (Facts & figures)..we all should understand the importance of green energy and promote it…

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    1. Thanks Gaurav. It was quite refreshing for me to read about it, and get to learn more about the topic. Overall my feel was that things are being done in this area, and I was happy to read that the private sector has some projects underway that help it. For some reason I thought there’d be more solar stuff going on, and was a bit disappointed couldn’t find anything about it.

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