Indian industry will be able to manufacture solar modules worth 100 gigawatts (GW) annually, and help the country be a net exporter of solar power By 2026.
India was to have installed 175 GW of renewable energy — from solar, wind, biomass and small hydropower sources — by December 2022 but has only installed 122 GW.
Of this, solar power was to have been 100 GW though only 62 GW has been installed. A key bottleneck has been the cost of solar modules (or panels).
India has traditionally relied on China-made components such as poly-silicon wafers, necessary to make modules; higher customs duty on them has shrunk supply.
The country uses only 30-40 GW for domestic purposes annually and the rest can be used for export.
The incentive schemes that are in place are designed to encourage the manufacturers of wafers.
There has never been polysilicone manufacturing in India and this is the first time we’ll be making ingots and wafers in India. This is necessary for the future health of the solar ecosystem in India.
What is Solar Energy?
Solar energy is defined as the transformation of energy that is present in the sun and is one of the renewable energies.
Once the sunlight passes through the earth’s atmosphere, most of it is in the form of visible light and infrared radiation.
Plants use it to convert into sugar and starches; this conversion process is known as photosynthesis.
Solar cell panels are used to convert this energy into electricity.
Importance of Solar energy
A limitless source of energy: Unlike conventional sources of energy like fossil fuels, solar energy is limitless.
Clean source of energy: Solar energy is a non-polluting source of energy.
No fuel required: Solar energy is itself the fuel: Once installed, solar energy becomes a cheap source of sustainable energy in the long run.
Lack of Domestic Manufacturing of Solar Parts: The domestic manufacturing industry of solar PV cells and modules is severely lacking in India due to the lack of infrastructure, skilled workforce and high cost of production.
Space Scarcity: Another part of the major Solar Energy Challenges in India is the scarcity of land to install large-scale ground-mount solar systems, solving which scope for greater R&D and innovation could be increased tenfold in terms of installation.
Installing a megawatt of solar power requires on average four acres of land.
Financing Mechanism: The absence of innovative financing options for installing large-scale solar PV parks is another big part of Solar Energy Challenges in India that could offer higher sums at lower interest with longer durations. However, some government initiatives like National Clean Energy and Environment Fund, Green Masala Bonds, etc., have slightly resolved this issue.
Low Tariffs: Since the Indian government enforces one of the lowest solar tariffs, it makes the prospect of purchasing solar parts unsustainable for some developers which further leads to compromise in the quality of solar panels. This forms another key part of the Solar Energy Challenges in India that need to be addressed.
Waste Management: India’s solar waste has been predicted to grow by 1.8 million tonnes by 2050. Currently, India’s e-waste rules are not mandatory on solar cell manufacturers which leads to a large generation of solar waste every year.
Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Uttham Mahabhiyan (PM KUSUM) scheme, which aims to help farmers access reliable day-time solar power for irrigation, reduce power subsidies, and thereby decarboniser agriculture, was behind schedule because of the “high cost of finance” for farmers.
Other Government Initiatives for Solar Energy
Solar Park Scheme
Rooftop Solar Scheme
Atal Jyoti Yojana (AJAY)
National Solar Mission
International Solar Alliance (ISA)
Under the scheme, ?34,422 crore is to be spent by the Centre to have farmers or farmer groups install solar power plants worth 10,000 MW, installation of 20 lakh solar-powered agriculture pumps that aren’t connected to the grid (off-grid), and converting 15 lakh agriculture pumps that are already connected to the grid into solar-powered pumps.
As of December 31, 2022 only 88.46 MW of solar capacity had been added, 181,058 solar pumps had been installed, and 1,174 grid-connected pumps had been converted.
The deadline for the scheme has been shifted to 2026.