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How Solar is set to change Energy scenario in India in 2019-20

The world’s natural resources are depleting fast and are critical enough to need immediate attention. Natural resources are very hard to replenish naturally. Thus we would need immediate alternative resources to keep up to the crisis. India is adopting many notable & sustainable missions that it aims to achieve by 2020.

The biggest advantage in India is its tropical climate, where the country receives almost 300 days of sunshine. Most parts of the country receive ample sunshine to harness solar energy in a fruitful manner. The government of India plans to generate 100 GW of grid-connected solar power by the year 2020. Of this, 20 GW will account from rooftop solar. In such a scenario, rooftop solar has ample scope to bloom in the country.

Advantages of Rooftop solar:

  • For the most part, rooftop solar setups require less space and are feasible for domestic use. Solar parks require a huge area that may even take up cultivatable space.
  • Rooftop solar can reduce the cost of domestic electricity usage to a significant amount.
  • It is completely environment-friendly and pollutant free. It can bridge energy deficit and drastically reduce the dependence on diesel generators which are severe polluting agents.
  • It is still on its way to develop and evolve, so the future will surely witness highly cost-efficient and sustainable solar power generators in the form of rooftop solar panels.
  • It is way safer than traditional electricity.
  • It is pro-people and now there are many tech-solar startups in India providing solar consultation to the common man free of cost. From determining solar feasibility to arranging solar infrastructure and easy finance they provide great hand-holding to solar enthusiasts.

Challenges for Rooftop Solar:

  • Initial installation cost is high and may not be affordable to the lower middle-class population or even the middle-class population so the government should help during the installation phase with apt subsidies.
  • It works only during the day and has to have a battery backup at night. This increases the cost to a large extent. Smart grid and investment into a high tech battery system may address this problem in the near future.
  • India is a land of monsoons, during which cloudy days stretch for weeks. There is low productivity during those days. Winters may also see a fall in Solar energy production where snow and fog are common occurrences.
  • Government subsidies for installations are hard to find by. The existing ones are too redundant to access. Tech-solar startups today may be the answer to this accessibility problem.

Indian solar power scenario:

In India, a raving controversy started when the solar unit manufacturers and the solar project developers cultivated a rift over the cost and procedure of solar power related issues. This rift has complicated the situation to an extent that the domestic solar power installations are facing some hindrance.

The good news is that there have been some significant advances in the journey of India towards attaining its solar (power) goals. Some humongous solar power projects have been funded by international funding agencies like the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank. The IFC has funded a mega solar project in Maharashtra that is capable of generating 750 MG of power. Similarly, India is on its way to materialize one of the largest solar park in the world in Karnataka. The estimates reveal that once completed it will be able to provide power to over a million households.

India is also collaborating with foreign nations like France to access funds that will enable in the manifestation of India’s solar goals. Estimates also reveal that India’s power consumption demands will face a manifold increase. In that scenario, the fast development of solar power projects is utterly needed.

If the manufacturers and distributors are able to collaborate for the greater good, then by the year 2020, the number of rooftop solar installations in the domestic household will increase significantly.

Domestic Solar Scene in India:

While commercial solar plants have registered positive growth, the case is not the same with domestic usage. Most of the solar power generation in the country is the contribution of the commercial or industrial set ups. Household rooftop solar power systems have contributed to only 9% of the total power generation in the country. In terms of gigawatts, the growth rate is almost 75% but the contributors are primarily commercial firms or industrial usage. This implies that the households are yet to harness the solar power potential in India.

Bridge, a renewable energy consulting firm has stated that a number of reasons have contributed to the decreased demand from the domestic front. The main reason, according to them is a lack of proper funding source. The upfront cost of installing a solar grid in the domestic rooftop is quite high. Most people lack the immediate funds required in the installations.

Government schemes are lagging behind and banks are not yet ready to procure loans for this purpose. Thus, many people are unable to meet the cost incurred. Also, there is a general lack of awareness among the rural population regarding the pros and cons of installing a solar unit. Most people are not upfront with the urgency of adopting renewable energy sources.

Lack of fund:

Banks in India are constantly demanding home-ownership documents to give out loans for this purpose, says Bharat Jairaj, the director of the energy program at World Resource Institute.

There are government subsidies available that covers almost 30% of the cost for domestic solar grid installations, but the subsidies are shady and practically inaccessible due to the various complications.

Ways to achieve the domestic solar power target:

  • NGO’s operating in the country should take initiatives to reach out to as many domestic households as possible to create awareness regarding the issue.
  • Government should further develop the subsidy schemes so that common people can bring together the fund needed for installations.
  • Community projects should be taken up in this aspect. For instance, the residential multistoried building should create a separate fund where building owners can contribute to the setting up of a common rooftop solar grid. This will divide the cost among many.
  • should support solar start-ups that educate people about solar and facilitate solar power generation in the country.

In conclusion, it can be said that India has a huge potential to harness sustainable energy like solar energy. The working government should take drastic steps in this scenario if any further improvements are to be seen. Manufacturers and distributes must work in collaboration to avoid unnecessary complications. If the drawbacks are overcome, then the mission to harness 100 GW of solar power will not remain a distant dream.

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