The Covid-19 pandemic has been marked by inextricable times, globally. It has exposed the gaps in national and international health systems, reinstating the need to have a reliable infrastructure in place.
As many parts of the world continue to struggle for 24/7 supply of electricity, it creates a disparity in the world in multifaceted domains, including access to lifesaving refrigerated vaccines. For some, this difference constitutes the difference between life and death. Thus, this brings the pressing need of renewable energy, particularly solar energy to the fore.
Recently, the acclaimed financial institution ‘World Bank’ in one of its reports, applauded India’s solar learning curve; saying it inspires action across the world.
India’s Solar Capacity:
India has the largest renewable energy expansion plan, globally. It has the fifth largest capacity of renewable energy in the world.
Solar energy’s share in India’s installed power capacity:
India is ranked as the most attractive destination for solar PV investment and deployment by Ernest & Young in its latest ‘Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index.’
The share of solar energy in India’s installed renewable energy capacity, at the end of the second quarter (Q2) of 2021 is recorded at 37.4% according to preliminary data from the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). Further, the country ranks fifth largest in the world’s solar installed capacity.
India’s top five solar power producing states:
1.) Karnataka — With a capacity of 7,100 MW heads India’s list of states producing solar energy
2.) Telangana — 5,000 MW
3.) Rajasthan — 4,400 MW
4.) Andhra Pradesh — 3,470 MW
5.) Gujarat — 2,654 MW
Solar initiatives of India:
Even when the pandemic was completely unforeseen, India was determined to reap the benefits of solar energy. Thus, an ambitious target of generation capacity of 100 gigawatts (GW) was set, to be achieved by 2022.
– Rewa Solar Park:
Solar energy is now geared to power essential infrastructure, including transport. One of India’s flagship solar projects, the giant Rewa solar park, powers the New Delhi metro rail system that serves over 2.6 million commuters daily.
– 24×7 – Power for All:
Government-led initiatives like the 24×7 – Power for All, committed to providing around the clock access to electricity, to each household is helping communities by improving their quality of life.
– NTPC’s boost to solar energy:
NTPC strides towards building 60 GW Renewable Energy capacity by 2032. In line with this, the maharatna company has successfully commissioned India’s largest Floating Solar of 10 MW on the reservoir of Simhadri Thermal Power Plant.
It has also signed an MoU with the UT of Ladakh to set up the country’s first Green Hydrogen Mobility project.
Further, NTPC is geared to set up India’s single largest solar park at the Rann of Kutch.
Thus, India’s path towards fully realizing its renewable energy potential could be a gamechanger for its own citizens, as well as for global efforts to tackle climate change and as a guide for other countries as they invest in solar energy, asserts the World Bank. From concessional finance to establishing solar parks in Madhya Pradesh, to supporting enabling policies and bringing the private sector to the table, the expansion of solar in India offers key lessons to boost clean energy investments around the world, said the report.
Building a Solar Knowledge Exchange:
India-led International Solar Alliance, in partnership with the the Bank’s Lighthouse Initiative is supporting a pipeline for the exchange of solar knowledge between Indian agencies and their counterparts in many other countries like Bangladesh and the Maldives and others in Africa. For example, the Lighthouse Initiative of India is working miracles in Maldives.
Traversing India’s Solar journey:
India’s solar journey commenced after signing onto the Paris Climate Agreement, facilitating flexible clean power auctions, attracting record-low solar tariffs and underscoring its commitment to clean energy.
At the UN Climate Summit in December 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India is on track to ultimately top its renewable energy targets – hitting 175 gigawatts before 2022.