Assessing the Key Requirements for 450 GW of Renewable Capacity in India by 2030
In this policy brief, we assess the prerequisites for India to achieve 450 GW of solar and wind cumulative installed capacity by 2030. We examine requirements such as availability of land, new transmission buildout, financing and pace of deployment, as well as the impact on grid reliability and cost of generation. We also examine the impact of policies promoting domestic manufacturing.
Deploying 307 GW of solar and 142 GW of wind capacity would use only about 1.25% of land that is categorized as barren or waste, which is equivalent to about 0.22% of the total land area in India. Because of the good solar resource across large swaths of India, the solar energy buildout—and thus the land use—potentially can be spread out. India would need about 280 GW of new interstate transmission capacity by 2030, a little over double the transmission expansion that has already been planned through 2025. However, most of the new transmission buildout is driven by the near doubling of electricity demand between 2020 and 2030.
The total investment needed (in generation and storage resources) to realize this target is around USD 26.5 billion annually, which is 20% lower than the annual investment in India’s power sector across all generation resources between 2015 and 2019. We estimate that using domestically manufactured panels instead of imported panels may increase solar PPA prices by about 10%–15% in the medium term, but solar power would still be a cost-effective way to meet growing demand instead of building new fossil fuel-based power plants, because the price of electricity from solar plants has fallen below the variable cost of most existing coal units. To reach this target, India would need to build about 35–40 GW of solar and wind capacity every year in this decade. India’s power sector achieved a pace of capacity addition of 22 GW per year in the previous decade (including thermal and renewable). Policy and regulatory measures would be needed to increase the pace of deployment.