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Solar production helped India save $4.2 bn and 19.4 million tonnes of coal in first half of 2022: Study

New Delhi: India saved $4.2 billion in fuel expenses through solar production in the first half of 2022 and 19.4 million tonnes of coal that would have further impacted an already strained domestic supply, a recently conducted report released on Thursday say.

In a study released by the energy think tank Ember, the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, and the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, it was also highlighted how solar power has grown over the previous ten years. It was discovered that five of the top ten economies with solar capacity, including China, Japan, India, South Korea, and Vietnam, are now located in Asia.

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The report noted that from January to June 2022, the contribution of solar energy in seven important Asian nations — China, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Thailand — avoided potential expenses of fossil fuels of around $34 billion. This is 9% of the overall cost of fossil fuels during this time span.

“In India, solar generation avoided $4.2 billion in fuel costs in the first half of the year. It also avoided the need for 19.4 million tonnes of coal that would have further stressed an already strained domestic supply,” the reported noted.

The majority of the anticipated $34 billion in savings, according to the study, were saved in China, where solar power supplied 5% of the country’s electricity needs and prevented an additional $21 billion in coal and gas imports during that time.

Japan experienced the second-highest impact, saving $5.6 billion in fuel expenses alone from solar energy production.

Vietnam’s solar energy avoided spending an additional $1.7 billion on fossil fuels, a significant increase from the practically zero terawatt hours of solar energy production in 2018. From January to June of 2022, solar supplied 11% (14 TWh) of the nation’s electricity needs.

The reduced fuel cost is still significant in Thailand and the Philippines, where solar growth has been slower, according to the report.

Even while solar generated only 2% of Thailand’s electricity in the first half of 2022, it saved the country an estimated $209 million in potential fossil fuel expenses, it noted.

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Despite solar accounting for only 1% of generation, the Philippines saved $78 million in fossil fuel costs.

According to the research, solar energy generated 5% of South Korea’s electricity in the first half of the year, preventing the use of fossil fuels and saving the nation $1.5 billion.

CREA’s Southeast Asia Analyst Isabella Suarez said, “Asian countries need to tap into their massive solar potential to rapidly transition away from costly and highly-polluting fossil fuels. The potential savings from existing solar alone are enormous, and expediting their deployment alongside other clean energy sources such as wind, will be crucial for energy security in the region. While ambitious targets are important, follow through will be the key thing to watch moving forward.”

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