The Sun shines bright on India. Blessed with sufficient solar radiation for 300 days, fueled by government incentives and policies, and fast target achievements has put India among the world leaders of solar energy generation.
India, the third largest carbon emitter has stunned the world with its intention to produce 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022 under the Price Climate Accord of 2015. The country is currently positioned 6th globally in terms of installed solar energy.
In May 2017, India reached yet another landmark when wholesale solar power prices crashed to historic low of Rs 2.44/unit. Transparent bidding and facilitation led to this significant reduction in per unit cost of solar power which would further enable to push away coal based power.
India’s solar energy has seen tremendous growth in the last 4 years. It’s solar capacity has increased by over 8 times from 2630 MW to 22000 MW. There are at present 41 solar parks in 21 states with aggregate capacity of over 26,144 MW. The largest solar park at Pavagadh with capacity of 2000 MW is under installation. Efforts have been made with over 90% of solar pumps having been set up in last four years. While solar street lights almost doubled in capacity, solar home lighting system increased by 1.5 times.
India is also the brain behind first ever treaty based international intergovernmental organisation – International Solar Alliance which aims to bring the world together for harnessing solar energy for universal energy access at affordable rates.
Last month, India announced its intention to increase its solar capacity by launching a tender for 100 GW of solar energy, ten times the size of current largest tender in the world that too an another Indian project. Substantial progress has been made in our view on improving overall sector investment outlook and policy environment in these Four Years under PM Modi.
However, the promise of increasing its target to 227 GW from the present 175 GW by 2022 under Paris Accord doesn’t make a lot of sense to analysts for now. The country at present lacks the infrastructure to install so much solar capacity at one go. There are many operational hurdles too in terms of land availability and transmission connection. With just 70 GW installed capacity so far and another 40 under construction, India seems likely to fall short of its targets but the intention does reflect the scale of India’s ambitions which will help attract investors in the field of solar energy. As India focuses on increasing its renewable energy base, it will need to simultaneously reduce dependence on coal while meeting the energy needs of a growing population.
With India’s carbon emissions likely to double as the country seeks to develop economically and lift million of its citizens from poverty, the country’s ambitions to switch to renewable energy sources are commendable. Air pollution is choking a major part of the nation raising environment concerns. With impact of air and water pollution becoming clearer each day, the country’s efforts reflects its aim to reinvent itself as a green energy leader.