With an aggressive push by the government on renewable energy sources, especially solar, India is on the verge of becoming the next Solar Super Power. The solar revolution that is gradually picking pace,offers a feasible solution to bridge the gap between electricity demand and supply. Tapping solar energy has the potential to make the nation energy independent in coming decades. India’s ambitious plan to boost solar power production from 20GW to 100GW by 2022 is also going to generate better employment opportunities for many.
Potential of Solar Power in India
Solar power holds the promise to help accelerate the growth of Indian economy in more than one way. Government has chalked out many plans that are going to fulfill almost 40% of the country’s energy needs by 2030 and this would be achieved by using renewable energy sources. Due to India’s strategic location close to equator the country is endowed with more than 300 days of bright sunlight every year. Estimates say that if all of this energy is captured it can generate 5,000 trillion kWh of solar energy. This is 4 times the current peak demand for power (about 250GW). This level of energy generation can work wonders for improving the overall quality of life in India and would also accelerate the pace of economic growth.
How to achieve the Goal of becoming Solar Super Power?
Political will along with selection of right technology is the key for the success of this ambitious plan of making India a solar super power. We all know that conventional fuel which is currently used for power generation is exhaustible and hence going to be dearer by the day. However, it cannot be completely replaced by renewable energy immediately as the basic infrastructure for extensive production of renewable energy is still not in place. In order to make this goal a reality certain key areas need to be given due attention.
Let us have a look what are the top 7 factors that would help the nation sustain and achieve its solar energy generation goals:
1. Policy for Renewable energy : As of now there is no uniformity in the renewable energy policy. Every state in India has a set of rules for renewable energy generation and distribution. Many states in India still have no structured plan to implement net metering. Hence making a structured and uniform renewable policy is the first requirement. This would give a direction to the whole process and standardize the industry.
2. Allot land for solar installations : Large solar plants need free land which can be used to set up solar panels extensively. Government should come forward and allot free land especially in the desert areas which are otherwise wasteland but ideal for solar power generation.
3. Promote Microgrid : Microgrid is a small scale power generating station which has its own resources, generation capacity and loads. Promoting solar Microgrid set up is going to change the way this nation generates and consumes power. It would offer immediate benefits of reduced power cost, increased power reliability and would also help improve the ambient air and environment qualities. Also it would go a long way in educating the masses about the benefits of solar.
4. Promote substitution of conventional energy with Solar : By decentralizing and phasing out conventional energy subsidies, emphasis can be laid on generation and usage of renewable energy. The current solar power generation can be boosted significantly by educating the masses and promoting solar installations for every home.
5. Make solar accessible to public : Even if interested and willing the general public is clueless how to get reliable inputs about solar products and services. Government should make efforts to streamline and publish all information that isrequired to educate the public about solar set up and power generation. This would create an interest and awareness about solar energy and lead to itswidespread adoption.
6. Energy Storage : Make room for better energy storage and find out various methods for storing the electricity generated by solar power. Implementing net metering in more states would help in better distribution of solar power. Also innovations in technology that offer better quality batteries for home solar installations should be promoted.
7. Better Financing Options : To promote solar energy, government is providing soft loans at low interest rates, offering tax benefits and subsidies for solar installations. This should be taken a step further by offering tax free solar bonds which would instill confidence ininvestors. Upfront price of solar installations is the biggest deterrent and providing easy financing can help overcome this bottleneck.
India has a clear plan, goal and resource to become the solar super power. All we need now is to make our small contributions by adopting solar energy in our daily lives. With right policies, government will and aid, India will not only become power reliant but would also lead the global solar revolution.