India is now, well and truly, ushering into an economic pathway of prosperity like never before. This foray will have to be built on the back of noteworthy transformations across sectors like infrastructure, energy availability and sustainability. The nation is still widely dependent on coal for its energy needs.
Almost approximately 60 per cent of its energy supplies are sufficed by coal. These numbers however make sense as India is a coal rich country and accounts for a mere 0.3 per cent of the global oil and 0.8 percent of the global gas reserves. We are, however, blessed with abundant supplies of natural renewable resources like wind, biomass and solar energy.
This year could well turn out the definitive year when the country emerges from the shackles and rises ahead as a global superpower in the solar energy space. A string of reasons have contributed to this analogy.
Solar tariffs are expected to fall below Rs 4.0/kWh mark, in turn, making solar the cheapest new source of power. The fall in module prices have proven to be a gift for manufacturers in the country, who were constantly vying off the challenge which was posed in front of them by Chinese companies. They can now go onto focus on manufacturing locally again and cap on the opportunity presented to them by the investment fall in the solar markets in Europe, China and Japan. If all goes well, India could well add double amount of growth in the solar sector in 2017 and 2018 as suggested by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) in a report and also seen with the phase with which capacity addition is envisaged and projected by Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) as well.
Last year in October, the World Economic Forum came out with an imperative announcement in which it sought to declare that the global renewable electricity capacity has overtaken coal to become the world’s largest installed power source for the first time. Heralded as the turning point in renewable generation, the story may well become the definitive pole of strength which will further inspire world leaders around the world to take a more serious look at the power of renewable energy.
India, on the other hand, has been making headlines of its own. Last year it unvieled the world’s largest solar power plant in Kamuthi Tamil Nadu. A testament of India’s seriousness towards the concept of clean energy, the facility boasts a capacity of 648 MW and covers an area of 10 sq km. In a report by research firm, Bridge to India it was released that India’s solar market is expected to grow by 90 per cent in 2017. The growth is bolstered by a number of factors, including the pivotal technological advancements in the field of energy storage. India wastes close to 15-20 per cent of its renewable energy due to lack of storage technology, an increased investment and focus in the sector has helped the nation curb this gaping hole which has further augmented its clean energy usage.
Increasing penetration and per capita consumption of energy has resulted in the growth power which has further resulted in the growth of renewable energy. Generation capacity in India has increased considerably, among the installed capacity of different sources of power in India during the course of FY 07 – FY 17, renewable energy was the fastest amongst all sources of power standing at an installed capacity of 21.3 per cent. Traditionally, renewable energy has struggled to gain financial traction in India, but now solar is becoming an increasingly viable option.
To date solar energy has been critical to the central governments renewable energy plans, capacity has increased more than 200 per cent since Narendra Modi took charge of the office. Power and Energy Minister Piyush Goel has suggested that solar sector will continue to receive tax breaks in the upcoming budget so as to assist the governments in its ambitious desire of achieving 100 GW worth of solar capacity by 2022