The Indian power sector is undergoing a significant change that is redefining the industry outlook. Due to rapid economic growth, India has one of the world’s fastest growing energy markets and is expected to be the largest contributor to the increase in global energy demand by the year two thousand thirty five, beating even China, according to the 2014 energy outlook report by British oil giant BP. Given India’s growing energy demands and limited domestic fossil fuel reserves, the country has ambitious plans to expand its renewable power industries. India plans to add about 20 GIGA WATT of solar power capacity by 2022. India, “as a growing economy with a surging middle class, continues to drive power demand.
India was one of the first countries in the world to set up a ministry of non-conventional energy resources, in early 1980s. India’s cumulative Grid interactive or Grid Tied Renewable Energy Capacity (excluding Large Hydro) has reached 29.9 GIGA WATT. India is facing a perfect storm of factors that will drive solar photovoltaic (PV) adoption at a “furious pace over the next five years and beyond”. The falling prices of solar panels, mostly from China and U.S., have coincided with the growing production capacities of photo voltaic panels in India thus reducing the overall cost of solar energy production.
Gujarat has been a leader in solar power generation and contributes two 3rd of the 900 MEGA WATT of photovoltaics in the country. The state of Gujarat was first to implement the Canal Solar Power Project, to use 19,000 km long network of irrigation canals across the state for setting up solar panels to generate electricity. It was the first ever such project in India. This also helps by stopping 90,000 liter water yearly of the Narmada river from evaporating.
In the past three years, solar-generation costs here have dropped from around 30¢ a Kilo Watt Hour to about 12¢. Experts believe that mega solar power plants like the upcoming one in Rajasthan, would be able to produce power for around 8.4¢ a Kilo Watt Hour. India can make renewable resources such as solar the backbone of its economy by the year two thousand fifty, reining in its long-term carbon emissions without compromising its economic growth potential. With about 300 clear, sunny days in a year, India’s theoretical solar power reception, on only its land area, is about 600,000 Giga Watt. India’s long-term solar potential could be unparalleled in the world because it has the ideal combination of both high solar insolation and a big potential consumer base density.