Renewable Energy in India 2021 | UPSC


Renewable energy in India

      WHY IN NEWS:

Capacity addition halved in 2020

MINISTRY? :-Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE)




  • India’s renewable energy capacity addition in 2020 declined by more than 50 per cent since 2019, primarily due to construction delays brought on by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, according to International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Renewable Energy Market Update.
  • The sector may get a boost following proposed reforms worth 40 billion dollars to improve health of discoms.
  • The challenges of integrating renewable energy into the grid also acted as an impediment.
  • The country, however, may set new records for renewable energy capacity expansion in 2021 and 2022, since the delayed projects from previous competitive auctions have been commissioned.

  • Globally, annual renewable capacity additions increased 45 per cent in 2020 to almost 280 gigawatt (GW). It is the highest year-on-year rise since 1999, according to IEA.
  • This has been attributed mainly to capacity expansion for solar and wind energy, which amounted to 135GW and 115GW respectively.
  • A 20GW capacity of hydropower and about 10GW of other renewable energy, led by bioenergy, also contributed to the growth, the report noted.

Renewable Energy in India 2021

(Source: Renewable Energy Market Update 2021 by the International Energy Agency)


  • The Government of India awarded 27 GW of photovoltaics in central and state auctions in 2020, which is expected to drive growth in solar energy capacity this year and the next.
  • But distributed PV expansion (residential installations) remained sluggish due to administrative and regulatory challenges in multiple states.
  • This was also flagged in the State of India’s Environment Report, 2020 by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a Delhi-based non-profit.

IEA has raised concerns over the financial health of power distribution companies (DISCOM) too.

  • It remains the primary challenge to renewable energy deployment in India.
  • The central government proposed reforms worth $41 billion (around Rs 3 lakh crore) to improve discom operations.
  • Solar installed capacity addition in 2021-22 has been projected to be on recovery path, primarily based on the post-COVID-19 (1st phase) recovery and basic customs duty of 40 per cent holiday till April 2022, which leads to lots of import procurements been initiated.
  • The second wave of COVID-19 infections in April 2021 has created a short-term forecast uncertainty for the year.


  • New installations in China, the United States, Vietnam and various European nations, especially in December 2020, have led to this surge.
  • China alone was responsible for over 80 per cent of the increase.
  • This was primarily due to onshore wind and solar projects commissioned under the former feed-in tariff scheme and awarded in previous auctions being connected to the grid by the end of 2020.


Renewable Energy in India 2021 | UPSC

(Source: Renewable Energy Market Update 2021 by the International Energy Agency)

  • The report predicted that solar PV additions will be 50 per cent higher than pre-pandemic level of 2019 but market for roof-top solar panels may decline.
  • Globally, the growth is most likely to be sustained as 270GW of renewables is likely to become operational in 2021 and 280GW in 2022, according to IEA.

  • Amongst these, solar and wind energy will continue to dominate. The hydroelectric capacity is estimated to reach 30-35GW in 2021 and 2022, and other renewable sources may stay around the 10GW mark.


  1. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT : Economic development has been strongly correlated with increasing energy use and growth of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Renewable energy can help by contributing to sustainable development by reducing energy imports.
  2. BENEFIT POOR : In addition, renewable energy offers the opportunity to improve access to modern energy services for the poorest members of society, which is crucial for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal.
  3. ENERGY ACCESS : In India many areas still lack access to electricity. If solar and wind plants are distributed, there can be minimal electricity generation interruption because weather disruptions in one location cannot be the same in other locations.
  4. CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION : RE technologies provide important benefits compared to fossil fuels, in particular regarding GHG emissions. Renewable energy is a clean source of energy, meaning, it has low or zero carbon and greenhouse emission.
  5. EMPLOYMENT : Development of renewable sources lead to creation of employment opportunities and actively promoting structural change in the economy. Solar, wind electricity has potential to produce over millions of jobs.
  6. REDUCE POLLUTION : RE technologies also offer benefits with respect to air pollution and health.RE power generation technologies have the potential to significantly reduce local and regional air pollution and lower associated health impacts compared to fossil-based power generation.
  7. ENERGY SECURITY : Renewable resources do not deplete over a lifetime and there is zero possibility that they will run out (sustainable source of energy).

      IASbhai WINDUP: 


  • FORECAST : After 2022, the annual growth in China will slow down, the report forecast. However the rest of the world will continue to see a growth in the renewables.

In Europe, for example, renewable energy will see expansion due to favourable policies, including the decline in costs of photovoltaics.

  • US EMISSIONS : Renewable energy in US will also see further expansion due to the new US emissions reduction targets and the new infrastructure bill, if passed.
  • GROWTH : Wind, too, will continue to dominate in the near future but the pace of growth will be slower in 2021 and 2022. It is expected to decline to around 85GW in 2021 and below 80GW in 2022. However, it is still 50 per cent higher than the 2017-2019 average.
  • INFRASTRUCTURE : To support growing renewable energy, the expansion of transmission infrastructure, for both intra and inter-state should be strengthened.
  • DOMESTIC CONTENT REQUIREMENT : It should be carefully assessed to ensure that domestic content requirement does not hinder the growth of solar capacity.
  • R&D : Investment in R&D programmes, as well as human resource development is necessary in addition to local content requirements.
  • INSTITUTIONAL STRENGTHENING : Strengthen the institutional structure to facilitate effective flow of central financial assistance. It is also important to strengthen institutional structure to monitor implementation of Government policies and programmes.
  • CAPACITY BUILDING : The government also needs to ensure that India’s distribution companies have the capacity to continue to purchase renewable electricity, especially if bid prices level off or rise.
     SOURCES:  DownToEarth  | Renewable Energy in India

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