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India Surpasses Japan to Become World’s Third-Largest Solar Power Generator

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World's Third-Largest Solar Power Generator

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In a monumental stride towards renewable energy dominance, India has outpaced Japan to secure the esteemed position of the world’s third-largest solar power producer in 2023.

This groundbreaking achievement underscores India’s escalating role in shaping the global energy landscape, as outlined in a recent report by Ember, a renowned global energy think tank.

 

According to Ember, solar energy surged to a record high, contributing 5.5% to global electricity in 2023. Furthermore, India’s solar contribution soared to 5.8% of its total electricity generation, emblematic of the escalating trend in renewable energy adoption worldwide.

 

Renewable Energy Surges Globally

The report underscores a remarkable uptick in renewable energy adoption worldwide, with wind and solar power leading the charge. As a result, renewables now constitute over 30% of the global electricity mix.

Additionally, when factoring in nuclear power, clean energy sources collectively contribute to nearly 40% of global electricity generation, heralding a significant shift towards sustainability.

 

This paradigm shift towards renewables has led to a significant decline in the carbon intensity of global electricity, plummeting by 12% from its peak in 2007.

However, the potential for greater renewable energy generation was hampered by a substantial drop in hydropower production in 2023, primarily attributed to drought conditions in China and other regions.

 

Solar Energy’s Ascendancy

Despite encountering challenges, solar energy perseveres as the frontrunner in global electricity expansion for the 19th consecutive year.

Notably, solar installations outpaced coal additions by more than twofold, with India witnessing a commendable surge in solar generation, bolstering its position among the world’s leading solar producers.

 

India emerged as a formidable force in solar energy production, witnessing an impressive surge of 18 terawatt-hours (TWh) in 2023. This catapulted India to the fourth position globally, trailing behind China, the United States, and Brazil. These four nations collectively accounted for 75% of the global increase in solar generation for the year.

Notably, global solar generation in 2023 soared to over six times higher than in 2015, underscoring the unprecedented growth trajectory of solar power worldwide.

 

The Imperative for Clean Energy

With nearly half of India’s annual carbon dioxide emissions attributed to electricity generation, totaling 1.18 gigatonnes in 2023, expediting the transition towards cleaner energy sources assumes paramount importance.

India has committed to achieving 50% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030, aligning with its developmental and climate objectives.

 

Aditya Lolla, Ember’s Asia Programme director, emphasizes the broader significance of escalating clean electricity adoption, highlighting its pivotal role in decoupling economic growth from emissions. “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.”

 

Global Initiatives and Projections

The United Nations COP28 climate change conference marked a historic milestone with world leaders endorsing a tripling of global renewable energy capacity by 2030.

This ambitious endeavor aligns with the International Energy Agency’s Net Zero Emissions scenario, envisioning solar power comprising 22% of global electricity generation by the end of this decade.

India emerges as a key player in this transformative journey, poised to triple its renewable capacity by 2030, albeit necessitating substantial annual capacity additions to realize this ambitious target.