India’s Tilt Towards Solar: Is Coal Dominance Coming To An End?

Tender & Policy Buzz India - Weekly Update

Global warming, climate change, fossil fuels etc. seem to have taken the spotlight now. There is at least one positive story in the sometimes depressing world of climate reporting which is all about how India is on its road to sustainability. India has been aggressively shifting away from coal-fired power facilities and toward electricity generated by solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. This implies that the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by the country is drastically reduced. Apart from environmental effects, this also has economical and other benefits. Continue reading the article to know the various reasons and other implications of this shift to solar. 


The Reasons

Moving on, let us try and analyze some of the reasons for the same. Although the reasons for this shift are numerous and intertwined, one feature, in particular, appears to stand out, that is the cost of solar energy has been plummeting to previously unthinkable lows. Since 2017, one solar energy company in Rajasthan has been generating electricity for an unheard-of guaranteed wholesale price of 2 rupees per kilowatt-hour (KWh) which is approximately only 3 US cents. As a result of the enormous drop in renewable energy costs, India is now ready to transition away from the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel and toward considerably cleaner sources. It is a dramatic shift that might have far reaching ramifications for the global energy industry. 

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Along with the falling prices, another factor that matters here is the increasingly recognized importance and utilization of solar. Solar, according to government predictions, will exceed coal by the end of 2030. In the next ten years, solar capacity will increase by 700% while coal capacity will increase by only 30%. Moreover, solar will ensure that India and its citizens have a constant electricity supply while reducing the costs and other environmental implications. 

Growing Green  

While Western countries are still hesitant to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, India is speeding up its efforts to lock in a long-term, substantial reduction in its economy’s carbon emissions intensity. The increasing diversification of India’s energy sector is producing a large number of job opportunities and attracting new investment which is expected to exceed $500 billion over the next decade if the aims are to be met all while lowering the country’s carbon footprint. India makes up to be a perfect site for solar energy because of its geographical location. We have 300 days of sunshine each year, our peak power demand is in the evening rather than during the day (due to cooling needs), and we have a seasonal peak in the summer. This is also when solar energy is at its most powerful capacity. 

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India is really dedicated to exceeding its national commitments under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and securing a promising future which involves not being a carbon emitter. Indeed, India is on course to have the lowest rate of carbon-emissions increase this century, with a growth rate of just 2% in 2019. These numbers are a result of constant efforts put in by the government in planning and promoting solar as the main source of energy for the state.

The government has various plans and policies that they believe would help the country shift to renewables. For instance, the Indian government has plans to gradually expand the use of electric vehicles, putting the country on a path to gradually lessen its reliance on high-cost, high-emissions oil imports. 

To get the country behind this endeavor, it will be necessary to raise awareness about solar power adoption. In addition to making India energy sustainable, such investments can give us a global competitive advantage in the next 10-20 years by allowing us to sell our technology solutions to other emerging countries. Other emerging market countries are keeping a close eye on India’s transition to domestic renewable energy, hoping to reap the same benefits for their own country. And it is there that a vital avenue to worldwide decarbonization and a much-needed solution to global warming can be found.

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The above discussion makes it evident that in the time to come, coal dominance is definitely coming to an end. With abundant government support and technical developments, the state will soon be a solar nation. The baby steps taken now will help us be on the right path to build a nation powered by renewables leading to a sustainable tomorrow. Solar is paving India’s path of growth and development!

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