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Sector Overview

India, a country with a population in excess of a billion people, is energy deficient and dependent on coal. More than 240 million of its citizens do not have access to electricity. However, there are pockets of macroeconomic development in India that are outpacing its newly industrialized counterparts. A dichotomy exists within the country’s drive to further industrialization and bring down emissions - one that is pivotal to the world’s renewable energy market.

The Paris Climate Agreement saw India committing to reducing its emissions. As it stands, the country is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. This commitment has seen tangible action from the government, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing an ambitious renewables target of 175 GW by 2022 (Solar -100 GW, Wind – 60 GW, Bioenergy – 10GW and small hydro – 5GW). This would also align with Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy; Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth; Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; Goal 13: Climate Change and; Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals. The target, set in 2015, also includes a year on year milestone that is to serve as a blueprint towards achieving the target. ‘Electricity for all’, is a part of this drive, with 40 million people gaining access to electricity since 2011.

Since 2015, India has seen an increase in installed wind capacities. It is now the fourth largest installer of wind energy. This uptick can be attributed to the introduction of competitive bidding and conducive policy measures like updated guidelines for the development of wind projects. In 2017 (fiscal year) India exceeded its yearly milestone of 4 GW to install 5.5 GW capacity. This has been largely concentrated in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, and Karnataka.
Solar energy has also seen its share of traction (5.5 GW installed, 2017 fiscal), but the country missed its yearly milestone of 12 GW. This is partly due to an insufficient transmission infrastructure and lack of financing. However, the solar prices which are as low as 2.65 INR (0.04$)/KwH are slated to spur growth. The Ramanathapuram solar project in the state of Tamil Nadu is the world’s largest PV project at a capacity of 648 MW. It covers 10 km2 and will bring power to 150,000 homes.

India’s drive towards cleaner energy has garnered interest internationally. The latest UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) report bills investment in India’s renewables at $ 9.7 billion (56% solar, 39% wind). Around 293 global and domestic companies have committed to generating 266 GW of energy across a diverse portfolio of solar, wind, biomass and small hydro projects. As part of the Conference of Parties, in the ambit of the United Nations Framework for Climate Change (UNFCC) - India’s ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contribution’ (INDC) has been to strive for a 40% renewable energy share. The country is slated to account for 11% of all investment in power generation, an investment that is expected to translate to 49% of renewable energy penetration. Proactive policy frameworks have spurred this investment in the country’s energy market. Given the geographical diversity of the Indian subcontinent, with monsoon winds and sunshine on a given day – it is prime for hybrid wind and solar projects. The Indian Ministry for New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has drafted guidelines for integration of renewable energies. Suzlon was quoted in a UN report saying that it sees a ‘huge opportunity’ in the implementation of hybrid projects in India.

Whether policy incentives and foreign investment will help India achieve its renewables target remains to be seen. Providing a large section of the population with electricity whilst simultaneously trying to achieve a low carbon portfolio is undoubtedly a challenge. One that comes with an immense opportunity for public and private energy players alike. The renewables market in India has the potential to be one of the fastest growing markets in the coming years.

For further information, feel free to contact:
Deepshikha Sharma -
Anandita Prakash -


Innovation Centre Denmark, India

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