India overtook Japan to become world’s 3rd largest solar power generator in 2023

New Delhi, May 8 (PTI) Rapid solar energy deployment in India pushed the country past Japan to become the world’s third-largest solar power generator in 2023, according to a new report.

The report by global energy think tank Ember said solar produced a record 5.5 per cent of global electricity in 2023. In line with the global trend, India generated 5.8 per cent of its electricity from solar last year.

Strong growth in wind and solar drove the share of renewables in the global electricity mix above 30 per cent and total clean generation (nuclear included) to almost 40 per cent, as reported in Ember’s “Global Electricity Review”.

As a result, the carbon intensity of the world’s electricity reached a new record low, 12 per cent lower than its peak in 2007.

Ember said renewable generation growth could have been even higher in 2023, but hydropower generation reached a five-year low amid droughts in China and other parts of the world.

Ember’s Asia Programme director Aditya Lolla said, “Increasing clean electricity is not just for reducing carbon emissions in the power sector. It is also needed to meet the rising electricity demand in an increasingly electrified economy and to decouple economic growth from emissions, which is crucial for tackling climate change.”

Solar maintained its status as the world’s fastest-growing electricity source for the 19th consecutive year, adding more than twice as much new electricity worldwide as coal in 2023.

India saw the world’s fourth-largest increase in solar generation in 2023 (+18 terawatt hour or TWh), behind China (+156 TWh), the United States (+33 TWh) and Brazil (+22 TWh). Together, the top four solar growth countries accounted for 75 per cent of growth in 2023.

Ember said the global solar generation in 2023 was more than six times larger than in 2015.

Solar’s contribution to electricity generation in India increased from 0.5 per cent in 2015 to 5.8 per cent in 2023.

According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) “Net Zero Emissions” scenario, solar would increase to 22 per cent of global electricity generation by 2030.

With electricity generation accounting for nearly half of India’s annual carbon dioxide emissions (1.18 gigatonnes in 2023), accelerating the transition to cleaner generation sources is imperative for the country to meet both its developmental and climate goals.

As part of its national plan to fight climate change, India has committed to achieving 50 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.

At the United Nations COP28 climate change conference in December last year, world leaders arrived at a historic agreement to triple the global renewable energy capacity by 2030.

The IEA says tripling the global RE capacity and doubling energy efficiency are crucial to limiting the average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, a political target set in 2015 to prevent further worsening of climate impacts.

India is one of the few countries planning to triple renewable capacity by 2030. According to Ember’s analysis, annual capacity additions need to significantly increase for India to meet this capacity target.

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