As the Indian economy is growing, its electricity consumption is also growing significantly. In 2015, India announced an ambitious goal of increasing its renewable capacity from 50 GW (gigawatt) to 175 GW (gigawatt) by the year 2022.
Especially in the solar power sector, India’s agenda is taking an ambitious turn. Earlier in the year 2018, India announced an additional 100GW capacity of solar energy to be produced to the already planned 100GW. The additional 100GW is planned to aim at the year by 2035.
With an average of 300 days of clear and sunny days, India receives a tremendous amount of solar energy and provides us with the opportunity to use this clean source of energy.
Current state of Solar Energy Projects
In the last few years, it has been quite evident that India is exploring its solar producing capacity in many ways. With an ambitious target of achieving 100GW solar capacity by 2022, India is also aiming to achieve an additional 100 GW by 2035.
Currently, India stands fifth as the solar energy producing country. It is continuously aiming to top this chart. To further strengthen their position in the solar energy sector, India formed an alliance of 121 solar-rich countries by bringing them together on a platform called ‘International Solar Alliance’.
India has tremendously grown its solar energy capacity in the last four years. India has shown an eight-times increase in its solar energy producing capacity in the last four years. Reaching 24 GW in July 2018 from 2.6 GW in 2014. In 2018 itself, India managed to install whooping 9 GW of solar capacity against 5 GW in the year 2017. The utility capacity grew by 72% in the year 2018 as compared to 2017.
Currently, half of the world’s largest solar parks are situated in India. So far 41 new solar projects with an aggregate capacity of nearly 26 GW are sanctioned under the ‘Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects’ scheme.
The Indian Ministry of New and Renewable energy is trying to push the installation of rooftop solar panels in commercial, residential and industrial buildings. A single window portal for providing complete information on rooftop solar and single point clearance for the installation of the same has been developed in Delhi and plans are been made to do the same in other states and union territories.
The plan for adding additional solar capacity is very much necessary in a country like India. With booming economic growth, India is being heavily dependent on coal as the source of energy. There is an urgent need for renewable energy plans since India has 14 among the top 20 most polluted cities in the world.
Hurdles in Implementing Solar Energy Projects
Although many experiments in solar energy projects have been taking place, there are some major issues creating hurdles in the implementation of the project.
As of 2018, the number of new projects getting on-board has decreased considerably. With inefficient energy output and low capital returns being the major reasons.
It has been noted that the Ministry on New and Renewable Energy has been unable to utilize all the resources available due to its poor financial planning.
Implementation of Goods and Service Tax (GST) is causing additional hurdles in solar energy projects. The GST tax has increased the module cost by 18%, inverters by 12% and service cost by 3%. Therefore increasing the total cost of the project by 12%.
Due to low financial returns, the number of new projects getting on-board has also slowed down. As a result, there are a vast number of companies chasing very few numbers of projects.
Implementation of solar energy projects is gaining popularity in India. Compared to other renewable sources of energy, solar energy is relatively cheap and easy to implement. The current plan of adding the additional 100 GW capacity wouldn’t be in the form of one massive energy plant but involves financing many small projects.
India has taken an aspiring goal of adding 100 GW of additional solar capacity. The goal seems too ambitious, but looks feasible with India’s current growing economic condition.
In the coming years, India needs to advance its technological and economic plans when dealing with solar energy projects. In the case of domestic and small-scale projects, India needs to address its price sensitive issues. Especially in the case of rooftop solar systems that are vital part of India’s solar energy goals as it aims in providing electricity to the 20% population who still lives without electricity.
But with new capital investment for solar energy projects emerging in India, the country is a prime location for an industry that has a significant impact on the renewable energy sector and the world’s wider climatic change goals.