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International Solar Alliance: Will India become a solar power leader? China seems to win the race

As per World Nuclear Industry Status Report, India ranks third in nuclear power installation and in renewable energy India ranks seventh with 9.01 GW generation capacity.

Devdiscourse News Desk 12 Mar 2018, 11:07 AM China, India
  • India’s renewable capacity has shown a tremendous growth, jumping from 39 GW to 63 GW within just two years. (Source: Unsplash)

With a population of 1.3 billion people where a substantial proportion lives below the poverty line and more than 15,000 villages are yet to see the light of the day, India's search for an alternative and clean source of energy becomes inevitable. 

After USA and China, India ranks third in primary energy consumption with 723 million metric tons of oil equivalent.

As per World Nuclear Industry Status Report, India ranks third in nuclear power installation and in renewable energy, India ranks seventh with 9.01 GW generation capacity. In January 2015 Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced to increase the solar capacity to 100 GW and total renewable power generation capacity to 175 GW by 2022.

This stupendous target was perceived by many experts as unachievable as the world capacity of solar energy itself was 177 GW. 

Unfazed by the pessimism poured by energy experts, world's largest solar panel installation tender was floated in the first week of January by Modi government. 

The government has spent USD 2.5 billion in SAUBHAGYA scheme which was launched in July 2015. SAUBHAGYA scheme is to electrify the remaining houses of 300 million people which do not have access to the electricity. In the United Nation climate meeting held in Germany, analyst Tim Buckley said that India will use 40 per cent electricity from its non-fossil fuel sources by 2022.

(Image source: Wikipedia)

Proving this, recently Diu has become the first and the only Union Territory to be 100 per cent solar efficient. Diu has generated 3MW of electricity from rooftop solar plants and 10MW through its solar power plants, making a total of 13MW.

Andhra Pradesh generates more than 2049 MW from its photovoltaic facilities. In August 2016, Tata Solar Power commissioned 100 MW solar project which was the world’s largest at that time. A year later Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park was set which commission 1000 MW and became world’s largest solar power plant. Rajasthan has world’s largest Fresnel type 12 Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant at Dhirubhai Ambani Solar Park. Bikaner is the only which has a tower type solar thermal power plant with 2.5 MW, Tamil Nadu has a total capacity of 1697 MW as on July 2017, solar power tariff in the state was lowest of 3.47 per unit.

Where does China stand?

One can easily understand why China is the world’s largest market for photovoltaic and solar thermal energy due to its vast population. China has taken the lead from 2013 for installing solar photovoltaics leaving Germany behind. In December 2016 was reported over 77.4 GW, following the year in 2017, China became the first country to cross 100 GW of installed Photovoltaic capacity.

National Development and Reform Commission in 2017, revealed that China’s installation of solar capacity will grow 1800 MW by 2020. China planned to install 350 MW of hydropower along with 200 MW of wind, 100 MW of solar and 58 MW of nuclear by 2020.

Chinese authorities have surpassed their own goal of producing 105 GW of solar capacity by 2020 as they have generated 112 GW in July 2017, within just nine months China installed 43 GW of solar power in the year. In south-western part, the country has a large potential of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and is the first to have a capacity of solar water heating with 290 GW, which accounts for 70 per cent of total world’s capacity.

(Image source: currentaffairs.gktoday)

India’s renewable capacity has shown a tremendous growth, jumping from 39 GW to 63 GW generation capacity within just two years. Now, with ISA (International Solar Alliance), India has alliance with 121 countries and India alone has the capacity of producing 16000 MW of solar power. But what is the plan for the future. Modi government has set a large goal which has some hurdles as China is the largest manufacturer of solar facility and India imports more than 80 per cent of solar panels from Taiwan, Malaysia, and China. China offers expensive solar panels which affect solar power generating companies in India.

This means India cannot solely depend upon China. Dhruv Sharma, CEO of Jupiter Solar plant and Sunil Rathi, director of sales at Waaree energies have stressed on making India as the destination for solar panels. It is important as developers have to pay five per cent only as GST.  

In July 2017, Energy Corporation canceled 950 MW capacity tender in a hope for lower tariff in future. The reason behind this are the banks which are still hesitating to invest in these new technologies which effect the companies, as per Upendra Tripathy, the director-general of the ISA. China has now entered to manufacture solar equipment’s facility in India.

As per, Livemint, LONGi Green Energy Technology Co. Ltd will invest USD 309 million in a set up in Andhra Pradesh which will embark a new history as to achieve India’s goal for generating 175 GW of clean energy capacity in which solar power solely hold 100 GW. GCL-Poly Energy Holding and Trina Solar Ltd are also interested to enter the market. Even Patanjali Ayurveda Ltd is also planning to manufacture solar panels.

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