India increased its solar energy capacity by 22% in the first eight months of 2022 compared with the same period last year. This growth in solar meant that, as of August 2022, the nation had installed 116GW, or two-thirds, of its target to install 175GW of renewables by December 2022, according to analysis from energy think tank Ember. 

Solar power represented 89% of India’s new renewables capacity in 2022. Wind power installations, by contrast, only rose by 7% compared with last year, representing just 10% of all new renewables installations this year. Overall, renewables growth slowed considerably from April, in part due to an increase in the basic customs duty, before picking up again in August.

Wind turbines next to cenotaphs at Bada Bagh in Rajasthan, India. (Photo by Emad Aljumah via Getty Images)

In May, Gujarat became the fourth state to hit its 2022 renewables target, joining Telangana, Rajasthan and Karnataka. Rajasthan and Gujarat are leading India’s energy transition: in the first eight months of the year, 49% of India’s new solar capacity was built in Rajasthan and 63% of the nation’s new wind power capacity was built in Gujarat. 

Gujarat recently announced it will roll out its own carbon market, based on the success of a previous cap-and-trade scheme for particulate air pollution, in a prelude to a national carbon market in India.  

Just four states account for 61% of the 58GW shortfall to India’s 2022 renewables target: Maharashtra (11.1 GW), Uttar Pradesh (9.7 GW), Andhra Pradesh (9.2 GW) and Madhya Pradesh (6.5 GW).

India is unlikely to reach 175GW of renewables capacity by the end of 2022, but its 2030 targets of 450GW renewables and 500GW of non-fossil capacity appear well within reach. India must add renewables 2.5 times faster than the average monthly installation rate of 1.4GW from January to August 2022, according to Ember.

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India’s solar rush earlier this year shows how quickly change can come,” Ember senior electricity policy analyst Aditya Lolla said in a statement. “It has even led to a record renewable energy capacity addition of 3.5GW in March this year. In order for India to achieve its ambitious 2030 renewable energy and non-fossil capacity targets, the country needs to consistently hit this all-time record set in March.”