Few countries illustrate the importance of getting renewables right better than India. The South Asian giant surpassed China as the world’s most populous country in 2023. A decade ago, it was the world’s tenth-largest economy. It’s now in fifth spot, and the Indian government expects it to move into third spot before 2030. While emissions have increased, India’s per capita emissions remain very low compared with those of other economies. To mitigate climate change, it will be critical for India to decouple rising prosperity from emissions growth.
India, a major importer of coal and oil, sees investment in renewables as a way to address the emissions challenge while boosting its energy security. In 2010, it launched a National Solar Mission to encourage the growth of its solar power capacity, at the time only a few megawatts. Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014 with plans to further expand renewables. At the 2015 Paris Climate Summit, India pledged that 40% of its power capacity would be met by non-fossil fuels by 2030. It met that target in 2021, nine years earlier than targeted.
Now the world’s third-largest producer of renewable energy, India aims to have 500 gigawatts of installed electricity capacity from non-fossil sources by 2030, up from around 173 GW in 2022. And it has signaled it’s open to international investment to help it achieve that goal.
Ontario Teachers’ acquired a 30% stake in conglomerate Mahindra Group’s renewables platform in 2022. Mahindra Susten was a first mover in India’s solar sector, establishing a presence as builder of turnkey renewable power projects for utility-scale customers before expanding into independent power production. As of 2023, Susten’s engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) business has built 4.2 gigawatts of projects, and it also operates 1.5 gigawatts of power-producing assets. Mahindra Group also has a renewables operations and maintenance business through an entity Mahindra Teqo, which is the largest player, in the solar domain, within the sub-continent. Going forward, Mahindra Susten is committed to developing projects focused on solar energy, hybrid energy, and integrated energy storage.
Susten has been a key partner for investing in renewables in India, where acquiring land for future projects requires local knowledge and sensitivity. With eight projects across six states, it has expertise in navigating permitting in India’s federal system.
While India is known for its engineering prowess, the country’s clean-energy ambitions will require the expansion of a skilled workforce to operate the rising number of renewable energy projects. Susten is contributing to this massive upskilling effort by funding and operating a training centre in the Indian town of Karjat. The Mahindra Susten Centre of Excellence has already trained more than 10,000 people for careers as technicians in India’s renewables sector. Susten’s effort to support a just energy transition by developing much-needed skills has been recognized in a report from the United Nations Global Compact.
"We started with a few megawatts, as a country, and today we have over 100 gigawatts of renewable energy assets of which about 60-65% is solar. All of it built in the last 10 years. That’s an amazing journey by any benchmark and we at Susten, feel privileged, to have contributed towards this. We are committed to re-imagine clean energy and will continue to demonstrate this by our emphasis on quality, innovation, and the best in technological design, in the projects we further build."
Deepak Thakur, Managing Director & CEO,