Realising India’s solar potential

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Renewable energy (RE) will continue to have a salient role in India’s energy security. The sector is expected to receive a big boost given the country’s climate change commitment. The renewable energy sector has shown tremendous growth over the last 5 years. With a meagre installed capacity of 17,174 MW in June 2010, the capacity has now more than doubled to 38,821.51 MW as of January 2016. This is largely attributed to the steady addition of the wind and solar power capacity.The scaling up of capacity of renewable energy to 175 GW by 2022, which will include 100 GW of solar power projects, 60 GW of wind power projects, 10 GW of biomass power project and 5 GW of small hydro projects, will provide impetus to India’s clean energy programme. With appropriate planning and a targeted approach this can be realised, especially given India’s tremendous RE potential. State policy and a supporting regulatory framework complement each other in pursuing a promotional agenda, particularly when a capital-intensive new technology needs to be supported. A conducive environment to enable rapid capacity addition in an economically viable manner for all stakeholders, will spell positive growth for the sector.The government is promoting solar power in a big way. The target of generating 20 GW through solar power has been enhanced by the Narendra Modi-led government to five times to 100 GW by 2022. The growth in solar power installations are largely attributed to national and state missions. The solar rooftop market is at a nascent stage today, however, it is going to be a big opportunity for developers. Solar rooftop systems can be set up faster and standalone rooftop systems or hybrid systems can be the solution to meet the rural electrification needs of India. It can also cater to other decentralized power generation like powering a mobile tower or an ATM and is a more viable option than using a diesel generator (DG) set. The net metering policy will also help accelerate the market for rooftop solar. Solar power offers a 24X7 alternative to DG sets and grid-surplus in identified areas.

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