Current Affairs

India’s solar power strategy

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  • Published
    15th Jul, 2020
  • Context

    The inauguration of a 750 MW photovoltaic solar project at Rewa, in Madhya Pradesh.

  • Background

    • India lying in tropical belt has an advantage of receiving peak solar radiation for 300 days, amounting 2300-3,000 hours of sunshine equivalent to above 5,000 trillion kWh.
    • India’s current installed solar power capacity, according to Central electricity authority, is 26025.97 MW which is 34% of total renewable energy sources i.e, 75055.92 MW till February 2019.
    • India facing problems in fulfilling its energy demand, solar energy can play an important role in providing energy security.
    • India's Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC’s) commitment includes 100 GW of solar power out of 175 GW renewable energy by 2022.
  • Why there is a Need of Solar Energy?

    1. Energy security:
      • India is dependent on imports to fulfil its energy demands, thereby incurring huge expenditure and uncertainty with regards to energy security.
      • India energy demands are largely fulfilled by non-renewable source of energy and the scarcity of these fossil resources stresses the need for renewable energy sources.
    2. Environmental Sustainability:
      • India’s large part is dependent on fossil fuels which causes pollution. Thus, solar energy is clean form of energy resource, which can be a substitute.
    3. Economic development:
      • India being a developing economy needs proper electricity and also self-sufficiency at minimal cost in power generation, for industrial growth and agriculture.
    4. Social development:
      • The problem of power cuts and unavailability of electricity especially in rural area, leads to improper human development.
    5. Green energy in rural area -??This is crucial for agro – business in farms for running irrigation, greenhouses, and crop and hay dryers, making agriculture risk – free.
  • What are the advantages associated to it?

    • Solar Energy is available throughout the day which is the peak load demand time.
    • Solar energy conversion equipment’s have longer life and need lesser maintenance and hence provide higher energy infrastructure security.
    • Low running costs & grid tie-up capital returns (Net Metering).
    • Unlike conventional thermal power generation from coal, they do not cause pollution and generate clean power.
    • Abundance of free solar energy in almost all parts of country.
    • No overhead wires- no transmission loss
  • What are the Challenges w.r.t developing Solar Energy?

    • Projected addition of capacity in a COVID-19 affected future?could fall short of stated goals (100 GW by 2022)
    • India’s solar story is largely built over imported products.
    • The dumping of products is leading to profit erosion of local manufacturers.
    • Indian domestic manufacturers aren’t technically and economically strong to compete with Chinese companies.
    • China’s strong manufacturing base is giving stiff challenge to domestic manufacturer.
    • Land availability in India for solar plant is less due to high population density.
    • India's solar waste is estimated to be around 8 million by 2050 also needs to be tackled.
    • Low domestic cell manufacturing capacity at 1 GW last year.
    • Challenges with respect to importing critical raw materials such as polysilicon
  • What are the potentials of India in the field of solar energy?

    • The sector also has immense potential to create new jobs; 1 GW of Solar manufacturing facility generates approximately 4000 direct and indirect jobs.
    • In addition solar deployment, operation and maintenance creates additional recurring jobs in the sector.
    • Advancements are underway for storage, which has the potential to revolutionise this sector globally, till then dependence on fossils can be reduced by gradually increasing the share of renewables.
    • India is expected to be 8% of global solar capacity by 2035. With the future potential capacity of 363 Gig watts (GW), India can be a global leader in term of encashing energy sector advantages.
  • How Government is cooperating for the development solar energy?

    • Ministry of new and renewable energy is the nodal agency to tackle India's renewable energy issues.
    • National Solar Mission is a major initiative of the Government of India and State Governments to promote ecologically sustainable growth while addressing India's energy security challenge.
    • The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) is a Non-Banking Financial Institution under the administrative control of this Ministry for providing term loans for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
    • National institute of solar energy is created as autonomous institution under MoNRE is apex body for R&D.
    • Establishment of solar parks and ultra-major solar power project and enhancing grid connectivity infrastructure.
    • Promotion of canal bank and canal tank solar infrastructure.
    • Sustainable rooftop implementation of solar transfiguration of India (SRISTI) scheme to promote rooftop solar power projects in India.
    • Suryamitra programme to prepare qualified workforce.
    • Renewable purchase obligation for large energy consumer customers.
    • National green energy programme and green energy corridor.
  • What can be the possible course of action?

    • Rapid progress requires a strategic shift to aid competitive domestic manufacturing.
    • Framework to avoid unnecessary delays in policy decision making and implementation.
    • India needs a Solar Waste Management and Manufacturing Standards Policy.

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