Solar energy is considered as one of the key renewable energy sources, with several countries opting for that across the world. India is among the frontrunners with a large amount of energy consumption demand.
According to Central Electricity Authority (CEA), in the financial year 2019-20, energy requirement across India was 12,91,010 mega unit (MU). The availability of energy supply in FY20 was 12,84,444 MU, registering a 0.5% deficit at 6,566 MU. In the current fiscal (FY21), India registered 6,27,634 MU energy demand till September, supplying 6,25,526 MU, recording a 0.3% deficit at 2,108 MU.
The majority of this comes from non-renewable energy sources, impacting the country’s economy. In this scenario, renewable energy sources can play a key role in generating power and catering to the demand, which would not only serve the purposes but also play a key role in achieving the ambitious goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India).
Indian renewable energy sector is the fourth most attractive renewable energy market in the world. The solar power could be one of the key sources for the country’s total power generation sector and the government is working towards that. The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has implemented large-scale central auctions for solar parks and has awarded contracts for 47 parks with over 25 GW of combined capacity.
Exalta, a New Delhi-based solar product company with solitary focus on solar energy has been working in promoting the usage of solar-powered products. Monika Singh, Director, Exalta; talks to Autofintechs about the current state of solar energy sector in India, its growth potential, challenges etc.
Edited excerpts below.
Q. Being a stakeholder in the solar energy industry, how do you see the growth potential of solar energy in India?
In 2009, India was ranked as the 4th most attractive renewable energy market in India. And when I look at the availability of solar radiance throughout the year, I feel we have a great potential to harness solar energy and become a world leader in this segment.
We need to concentrate on states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh that have more potential to generate solar energy, as they are the sunniest. Solar Energy market in India is set to grow at a CAGR of more than 40% during the year 2020-2025 and for that, we are all set with proper R&D and right set of machinery.
Q. In 2019, India installed 7.3 GW of solar power across the country, establishing its position as the third-largest solar market in the world, from the fifth position in 2018. Do you think India can grab the number one position in the coming days? What should be the government policy for that? Where do we lack as of now?
Yes, of course! As I mentioned, we are set to grow at a CAGR of more than 40% during the year 2020-2025. Also, the government has already taken various initiatives to support renewable energy in India like FAME II subsidy. We just need to stand as a support system to the government and be a part of a bigger change that is about to begin.
Q. What are the challenges the solar energy industry faces in India?
Like any other industry, we too have a lot to deal with and one of the most crucial challenges is land scarcity. Also, the lack of awareness and scope for development leads to cost inefficiency that hinders the growth of the industry. Another major challenge is the lack of closure in terms of industry-government cooperation for the technology to achieve scale and produce sufficient amount of output.
If we look for a better reach of solar energy market, we need better financing infrastructure, models and arrangements to spur the PV industry and consumption of PV products. These are a few key challenges which can be sorted only when the private sector and government will come on a single platform to solve and lead the market.
Q. As a part of Paris Agreement Commitments, India has set an ambitious target of achieving 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, including 100 GW of solar capacity addition. This seems a distant target as of now. What is your take on this?
I do agree that it’s a big target, but nothing is impossible. We need to understand the mindset behind it and if concerned authorities want to take over china and make India the global economy, I guess it’s a commendable move, and we as a part of the industry need to support the authorities and excel in the energy sector on a large scale.
I feel that this will not only uplift the image of India in the global market, it will also help benefit the remote areas of the country, where electricity is still a matter of concern.
Q. As compared to the regular electricity products, solar energy products are yet to grab the attention of the consumers. What is lacking there? What should be the steps taken by the stakeholders?
As per my observation, lack of awareness, information, and brand connectivity are the root cause of this agenda. While the MNC market strategies are very strong to influence the minds of the consumers, but that trust is yet to build and that will come with time.
What we need to do is to make people understand the benefits of solar energy and how convenient it is to use the products. Also, the sustainability of solar products also needs to be duly highlighted to grab the attention of our target customers.
In this process of generating awareness, the Central Government can play a key role and bring the change at the earliest. From organizing seminars, creating impactful government-sponsored advertisements to open discussions on public platforms, there are many ways to bring change.