1.6 GW in rooftop solar, quoted by Mercom India Research. I am remembering a quote by Sir Edison when he said :
"I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that".
What a speed with which we achieved this figure, in fact Solar was the prime source of capacity additions in 2017, adding 9.6 GW which was 46% of total capacity additions. This happened for the first time ever in India. Government has been very supportive in bringing reforms in policies that could attract investors from round the globe to invest in renewable energy and specifically in Solar PV Sector in India. However there is still enough scope at central and state level in shaping policies specifically which relates to open access. In this course of time India have witnessed lowest tariff at INR 2.44 which boosted government's vision towards 100 GW goal, however it could only became possible with proper and specific ingredients of the respective investment strategy.
With a target ahead of adding another 80 GW by 2022, there is a strong need for government to push for policy certainty and long term vision. I will also like to add my views on some of the aspects which can allow handsome flow of investments in the sector through industries and corporates. A separate policy can come which help industries and business houses to set up captive solar power projects and aim to go for 100% on renewables. Value additions in policy framework can be linked with subsequent reduction in wheeling and transmission charges and other open access charges with defined time frame. Banking rules can be eased, Availability of Land and single window clearances will also boost the morale of such potential investors. This will help corporates and industries meet their RPO targets, capacity will be added to the 100 GW goal and carbon emission reduction will take India towards top of the world in terms of climate change leadership.
As solar PV with storage system is the need of time, further encouragement of manufacturing Batteries and solar PV panels in India will give a great boost to renewable linked domestic economy.
Now with this capacity addition, there is an urgent need for setting up skill centers for people to learn operations and maintenance beyond the conventional approaches. Digitized O&M based on artificial intelligence, IoT and machine learning will prove to be a boon for investors. Performance data analysts and Researchers must be roped into the field to ensure that these power plants keep generating expected energy. Innovative methods needs to be roped to boost the PV system performances. Technology is evolving every next day, per say string inverters in utility scale projects are already making their place. Module mounted Micro-inverters are under research and will enter into market very soon. High efficiency and durable modules with lower cost will make a game change, not only in rooftops but utility scale projects as well, thereby securing maximum returns with comparative costs.
Research centers and institutes in India including NISE and NCPRE-IIT Bombay are doing fantastic work in domain. Their learnings, research and publications are boon to not only developers in India but the developing countries as well. They can develop a force of PV System analysts which will safeguard the investments.
As every drop makes the ocean, so is every watt of power, it makes people's life easier. The inaccessible and remote part of the country can be powered easily with solar PV. Let’s keep adding the wattage!!
India has great potential and is full of natural resources, at the same time we have a young force to act as catalyst in this growth journey. Being a renewable energy evangelist I am highly optimistic to see India meeting 100 GW target very soon.