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According to a new report, India has saved USD 4.2 billion on fuel costs by using solar power in the first half 2022. Also, 19.4 million tonnes of coal were avoided that would have added stress to already stretched domestic supplies.
Ember, the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air and Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, both energy think tanks, analysed the rise of solar power over the past decade and found that five out of the top ten countries with the most solar capacity are located in Asia. This includes China, Japan, India, South Korea and Vietnam.
According to the report, solar energy contributed by seven Asian countries – China, India, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines – avoiding potential fossil fuel costs of USD 34 billion between January 2022 and June 2022.
It added that this is 9 percent of the total cost of fossil fuels during this time.
In India, solar power saved USD 4.2 billion on fuel costs during the first half of this year. The report also stated that solar generation prevented the need for 19.4 million tonnes of coal, which would have added stress to an already stressed domestic supply.
According to the report, the largest savings of USD 34 billion are in China. China’s solar power generated 5% of total electricity demand. It also avoided approximately USD 21 billion in additional gas and coal imports over the same period.
Japan had the second highest impact with USD 5.6 billion in avoided fuel costs due to solar power generation.
Vietnam’s solar power saved USD 1.7 billion on additional fossil fuel costs. This is a significant growth from the nearly zero terawatt hours solar generation in 2018. Solar accounted for 11 percent (14 TWh), of the electricity demand between January and June 2022.
The report stated that the avoided fuel cost in Thailand and the Philippines is still significant, even though solar growth has been slower.
It was estimated that solar power accounted for only 2 percent of Thailand’s electricity consumption in the first six months 2022. However, this figure does not include potential fossil fuel costs of USD 209 millions.
Despite solar accounting representing only 1 percent of the generation, the Philippines avoided spending USD 78 millions on fossil fuels.
According to the report, South Korea’s solar power produced 5 percent of its electricity in the first half year. This avoided potential fossil fuel use that could have cost the country USD 1.5 billion.
Isabella Suarez, CREA’s Southeast Asia Analyst, stated that “Asian countries must tap into their enormous solar potential to quickly transition away from expensive and highly-polluting oil fuels.” There are huge potential savings in existing solar, so it is crucial to speed up their deployment along with other clean energy sources like wind. This will ensure energy security in the region. Although ambitious targets are important, it is crucial to follow through.