Future of solar industry in India and what to expect: Opinion


By Ashutosh Verma

India frequently faces energy scarcity as a developing country, hindering industrial growth and economic progress. Efforts are being made to use new energy sources, but implementing these sources is not that easy. Setting up new power plants depends on importing highly volatile fossil fuels, which means that India must rely on other countries to meet its energy requirements.

Therefore, India needs to tackle its energy crisis by judiciously utilizing renewable energy resources like biomass Energy, solar energy, wind energy, and geothermal energy. Besides helping with the energy supply, renewable resources also help India in being more environmentally friendly and mitigating climate change. Currently, most of the energy requirements of India are being met by fossil fuels. Most of the power generation is done by coal and mineral oil-based power plants, which fundamentally contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

More focus is being laid on encouraging the use of solar power, which is a clean, renewable resource with no emissions. It has tremendous potential for energy, which can be harnessed easily by using various devices. Recent technological developments have made solar energy systems readily available for industrial and domestic use.

It also has the advantage of minimum maintenance, making solar energy a very desirable energy source. To encourage its use, solar energy can be made financially viable with the help of government tax incentives and rebates. Most developed countries have already switched to solar energy as one of the prime renewable energy sources. Nowadays, architectural designs make provisions for photovoltaic cells and necessary circuitry while making building plans.

India has vast solar potential because it is located between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator and has an average annual temperature ranging from 25 °C – to 27.5 °C. The Rural Electrification Program of 2006 was the first step taken by the Indian Government to make people realize the importance of solar power. Under this program, it gave guidelines for implementing off-grid solar applications.

However, being in the early stage, only 33.8MW (as of 14-2-2012) of capacity was installed through this policy.
This majorly included solar lanterns, solar pumps, home lighting systems, street lighting systems, and solar home systems. As the next step, in 2007, India introduced the Semiconductor Policy to encourage the electronic and IT industries.

Currently, the essential element of India’s comprehensive, long term energy supply strategy is encouraging the spread of solar power generation (both CSP and PV) and aiming for grid parity (currently at around RS.5/kWh) by 2022 and parity with coal power generation (currently at around RS.4/kWh) by 2030.

It is expected that solar power could efficiently address India’s long-term power requirements, but on the condition that it has to be cost-competitive. Solar capacity additions have been consistent in the last few years, except for 2020, because of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the following year – 2021, turned out to be one of the best years for the Indian solar industry.

India added 7.4 GW of solar capacity in 9M 2021, an increase of 335% compared to 1.73 GW in the same period in 2020, according to Mercom India Research’s recently released report Q3 2021 India Solar Market Update. India’s cumulative installations at the end of Q3 2021 stood at 46.6 GW.

The outlook for 2022 looks very promising, as per the stakeholders from across the sector. India has an aggressive installation target of 280 GW of solar by 2030, which requires adding nearly 24 GW of solar each year – a daunting prospect.

Outlook for 2022
According to stakeholders, renewable energy sources, particularly solar energy, are expected to grow in 2022. The commercial and industrial (C&I) segment is becoming the major consumer of renewables, driven by cost savings and their RE100 targets.

It is believed that with the proper focus and approach, India would be able to achieve the target of 500 GW of renewable energy by the year 2030. The advent of renewable resources in India has substantial future employment potential.

It is said that India can create about 3.4 million jobs in the short and long term by installing 280 GW of solar and 140 GW of wind capacity as it moves towards achieving its goal of 500 GW of non-fossil electricity generation capacity by 2030. India’s renewable energy sector can employ around one million people by 2030, ten times more than the existing workforce.

Ashutosh Verma is the Founder of Exalta, a one-stop solution to green energy innovations. He is expertise in Artificial Intelligence, robotics, clean energy, forensic, cybersecurity, and has been associated with various government and non-government agencies.


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