Solar Energy in India

  • IASbaba
  • February 23, 2023
  • 0
Economics, Environment & Ecology
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Context: The Union budget increased allocation for the Production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for high-efficiency solar modules.

About Solar Panel and its working:

  • A solar panel is a collection of photovoltaic (PV) cells that collect sunlight and convert it into electric current.
  • When sunlight hits the semiconductor in the solar PV cell the energy from the light in the form of photons is absorbed.
  • This energy absorption results in exciting a number of electrons, which then drift freely in the cell.
  • The solar cell is specifically designed to create an electric field.
    • This electric field forces the electrons to flow in a certain direction- towards the  electrical terminals that line the cell.
  • This flow is known as an energy current, and the strength of the current is determined by how much electricity each cell can produce.
    • Once the electrons reach terminals  the current is then directed into wires making the panel a source of electrical energy.

Solar Energy potential in India:

  • From less than 10 MW in 2010, India has added significant PV capacity over the past decade, achieving over 50 GW by 2022 .
  • By 2030, India is targeting about 500 GW of renewable energy deployment, out of which ~280 GW is expected from solar PV.
    • This calls for 30 GW of solar capacity every year until 2030.
  • India’s current solar module manufacturing capacity is limited to around 15 GW per year rest is met through imports.
  • An estimated 85 per cent of this import need is met by three countries China, alongside Vietnam and Malaysia.
    • The value of solar imported since 2014 adds up to $12.93 billion, or Rs 90,000 crore.

Advantages of Solar Energy in India:

  • This is an inexhaustible source of energy and the best replacement to other non-renewable energies in India.
  • Solar energy is environment friendly, hence it is very suitable for India as it is being one of the most polluted countries of the world.
  • Solar energy can be used for variety of purposes like as heating, drying, cooking or electricity, which is suitable for the rural areas in India replacing other energy resources.
  • It can also be used in cars, planes, large power boats, satellites, calculators and many more such items, just apt for the urban population.
  • In an energy deficient country like India, where power generation is costly, solar energy is the best alternate means of power generation.
  • Solar panels can be easily installed; hence it is quite inexpensive compared to other sources of energy.
  • By 2012, a total of 4,600,000 solar lanterns and 861,654 solar-powered home lights were installed.
    • Typically replacing kerosene lamps, they can be purchased for the cost of a few months’ worth of kerosene with a small loan.
    • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is offering a 30- to 40-percent subsidy of the cost of lanterns, home lights and small systems.
  • Solar photovoltaic water-pumping systems are used for irrigation and drinking water.

Challenges of solar energy manufacturing in India:

  • Solar cell manufacturing needs a huge amount of capital.
    • The cost of debt in India (11%) is highest in the Asia-Pacific region, while in China it is about 5%.
  • Solar cell manufacturing is a complicated process that is technology intensive.
    • Establishing state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities needs access to technology.
    • It is unlikely that companies that have spent millions of dollars on R&D would make it easy for India to access the latest technologies easily or at a lower cost.
  • Lack of an integrated set-up and the economies of scale (despite 100 per cent FDI in the renewable energy sector) translates into higher cost of domestic production
  • Solar panel Manufacturing suffers from a huge raw material supply crunch.
    • Silicon wafer, the most expensive raw material in the panel, is not manufactured in India.
  • Solar cell technology sees upgrades every 8-10 months making manufacturing inefficient for new entrants.

Govt. of India Initiatives:

  • The govt. of India established a 19,500-crore production linked incentive (PLI) scheme on ‘national programme on high efficiency solar PV modules’, seeking to attract Rs 94,000-crore investment in the sector.
  • Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (M-SIPS) of Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology offers a 20-25 per cent subsidy for investments in capital expenditure for setting up a manufacturing facility.
  • Atal Jyoti Yojana (AJAY): The AJAY scheme was launched in September 2016 for the installation of solar street lighting (SSL) systems in states with less than 50% of households covered with grid power (as per Census 2011).
  • PM KUSUM: The scheme aims to add solar and other renewable capacity of 30,800 MW by 2022 with total central financial support of Rs. 34,422 Crores.
  • Solar Park Scheme: The Solar Park Scheme plans to build a number of solar parks, each with a capacity of nearly 500 MW, across several states.
  • SRISTI Scheme: Sustainable rooftop implementation of Solar transfiguration of India (SRISTI) scheme to promote rooftop solar power projects in India.
  • National Solar Mission: It is a major initiative of the Government of India and State Governments to promote ecologically sustainable growth while addressing India’s energy security challenge.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Consider the following statements:

  1. The Climate Group is an international non-profit organisation that drives climate action by building large networks and runs them.
  2. The International Energy Agency in partnership with the Climate Group launched a global initiative “EP100”.
  3. EP100 brings together leading companies committed to driving innovation in energy efficiency and increasing competitiveness while delivering on emission reduction goals.
  4. Some Indian companies are members of EP100.
  5. The International Energy Agency is the Secretariat to the “Under2 Coalition”.

Which of the statements given above are correct? (2022)

  1. 1,2, 4 and 5
  2. 1,3 and 4 only
  3. 2,3 and 5 only
  4. 1,2, 3, 4 and 5

Q.2) The Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) a UN mechanism to assist countries transition towards greener and more inclusive economies, emerged at (2018)

  1. The Earth Summit on Sustainable Development 2002, Johannesburg
  2. The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development 2012, Rio de Janeiro
  3. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 2015, Paris
  4. The World Sustainable Development Summit 2016, New Delhi


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