Environment Sustainability And Harnessing The Potential Of Solar Power In India

Gautam was awarded ‘CEO of the year in solar sector by ET Now and World CSR' in Feb ‘20. Prior to co-founding Oorjan, Gautam worked at Citibank & Citigroup for 15+ years. In his last role at Citi as Director, Treasury Citibank India, he was heading Treasury business across consumer & SME segments.

Economy and the environment have to go hand in hand for sustainable growth. We have paid the price for economic growth at the cost of the environment, resulting in irreversible damages. Global warming and escalating pollution levels have endangered our future. Climate change and natural calamities are becoming new normal!

This is time to act before it escalates and impacts our future further. Electricity is a basic need for economic growth, but unfortunately it directly impacts the environment. Traditional sources like fossil fuel are not commercially and environmentally feasible. In addition, fossil fuel is diminishing at an alarming rate. The good news is, renewable energy is a feasible alternative. Solar energy is the answer to these challenges and the world can be much greener without sacrificing economic growth.

Typically, installing a 1 Megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic power plant is equivalent to the plantation of 49,000 teak wood trees i.e., equivalent to mitigating 31,000 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide

India is blessed with abundant solar radiation. As per Ministry of New and Renewable energy (MNRE), about 5000 trillion kWh energy is incident on the land area per year with most of the regions receiving 4 to 7 kWh/m2 /day solar energy. According to the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), India's current solar potential is about 748 GW (assuming three percent of the waste land area that can be covered with solar panels). This potential is yet to be harnessed to its fullest. Solar photovoltaic (PV) has huge scalability in India, and can be effectively expanded. Solar energy being abundant, is one of the most secure energy sources and ensures energy security. Hypothetically, out of the total solar energy incident in India, even if a small fraction of it is captured effectively, we can meet the country's entire power requirement.

To achieve India’s renewable energy potential, the Government of India (GoI) has already set a target of 175 Gigawatt (GW) of renewable energy by 2022 and out of which 100 GW is to be achieved by solar power. Out of this 100 GW, 35.13 GW has already been achieved. Furthermore, the government has an ambitious target of achieving 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030. With this kind of announcements, it is clear that the policy structure in India is towards adopting renewable energy and obtaining maximum benefit out of it.

Furthermore, the Government of India has launched various schemes to encourage power generation across Utility, Industrial, Commercial and Residential sectors. Open access policies for captive as well as utility scale Solar parks, Sustainable Rooftop Implementation for Solar Transfiguration of India(SRISTI), Viability Gap Funding (VGF) etc. are just a few examples. Recently, MNRE also announced One Sun One World One Grid initiative (OSOWOG), which will ensure the supply of electricity across countries. The concept behind this plan is that ‘The Sun Never Sets’ and globally, it is always constant at any given point of time in some geographical location. And India being in the middle, can contribute significantly to making the vision into reality. For this, creation of two zones is proposed, one from far East (including countries like Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, etc.) and other being far West (the Middle East and African Region). With such initiatives, India will help itself as well as other countries to go green and reduce the Greenhouse Gases(GHGs) level and maintain environmental sustainability.

Typically, installing a 1 Megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic power plant is equivalent to the plantation of 49,000 teak wood trees i.e., equivalent to mitigating 31,000 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide. With such benefits to the environment and potential to reduce ongoing climate change, it is very essential to encourage the installation of solar power plants.

With the current COVID-19 crisis in the backdrop, we need to keep a balance between our dependency on local and global supply of products and service. India’s mission revises the focus on becoming self-reliant by promoting businesses and manufacturing goods locally. Adoption of solar energy will fuel the mission, while facilitating sustainable growth. Implementation of solar energy policies has been a challenge. Authorities and ecosystem partners are required to work together to make the ecosystem evolve fast and forward looking.

Adoption of solar energy transforms multiple problem areas into opportunities. This would fuel a sustainable economic growth, boost up made in India mission and create employment while making the world greener.

Solar is commercially viable and environmentally responsible! Just go for it.