Solar Energy in India

  • Bids for Solar Power are as low as Rs 2 per unit
  • Increased the target of solar capacity: to 100 GW by 2022. (India’s solar capacity at the end of 2021 was more than 50 GW.)
  • As per the study conducted by ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE), India’s solar power potential is as high as 748 GW, against our country’s cumulative installed capacity from all sources at around 275 GW.
  • India is ranked 5th in the world in terms of solar power deployment, accounting for about 6.5 percent of total worldwide capacity.
  • According to CRISIL, India has 3 GW of solar cell production capacity and 8 GW of solar panel production capacity.
  • India bought almost $76.62 billion worth of solar cells and modules from China alone in 2021-22, accounting for 78.6% of the country’s total imports.
  • Solar power generated only 3.6 percent of India’s total electricity generation in 2019-20.
Government Initiative in Solar Power Sector:
  • Reduced cost of power generation: By waiving of interstate transmission charges and setting up solar parks.
  • Lowering of solar power tariffs and prices: of solar energy equipment due to technological advancement.
What factors make solar energy less practical than conventional energy?
  • Solar energy works only when the sun is shining. At night, one cannot depend on solar power.
  • Solar systems do not operate efficiently during monsoons or winters when there is fog. This requires blending of solar energy in the grid with thermal energy – and that poses all sorts of practical problems.
  • Largescale solar energy farms require huge tracts of land. Per GW, solar requires twice as much land as a conventional coal-fired power plant.
  • Capital costs of solar installation are also higher.
Issues faced by solar sector in India:
  • High cost of finance for photovoltaic projects is a major challenge
  • Cheap imports poses another challenge. To tackle this, strong policy support is necessary to improve domestic manufacture of solar cells and panels
  • Import dependency of China: for solar cells for increasing solar capacity. China has supplied around 75% to 90% of the value of solar cells imports.
  • India’s efforts have also suffered a setback, with the adverse WTO ruling against the stipulation of a prescribed level of domestic content for solar projects
  • The availability of land for solar units is a major problem. Only a few states in the country have come up with firm assurances on land and that too for just a few units of 1,000-Mw capacity each. Most states have big or small patches of waste and barren lands which could safely be allocated for solar energy production. However, their ownership and the willingness of the owners to part with these lands are an issue that needs to be addressed
  • The lifting of solar power by the distribution companies is also a question mark because of their poor financial health of discoms, and because renewable energy purchase obligations may not be effectively enforced
  • Many investors are asking deeper questions about viability. Nearly one square kilometre of land is needed to put up a 40-60 MW solar plant. Such large chunks of land are not readily available except in isolated areas from which evacuation of power becomes even more difficult.
  • More focus on Large scale projects than Rooftop Installations on Domestic and Commercial premises.
  • Conflicts with local people and biodiversity preservation norms have also arisen under large scale solar power plants.
Solar power is not the panacea for India’s energy needs. Solar power also has its own share of issues in terms of its effect on overall grid stability, more so in the case of India, where the grid does not have buffer capacities like in the West. However, while plans are being drawn to scale up solar power, equal attention is also being provided to improve transmission corridors and grid management systems through increased investments and budgetary allocations to states to strengthen the network and deploy smart grid framework. To exploit its potential, India’s policy makers must re-craft their solar strategies. Costs must be pruned, and India’s inherent natural advantage of sunlight must be harnessed more judiciously
Related Questions:
Explain the advantages of solar power over other renewable sources. Also examine why the cost of solar energy output is decreasing and what it means to mitigation of climate change efforts. (200 Words)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top