A hearty congratulations is in order for India. It has just surpassed the 1,000 MW mark for installed photovoltaic solar power. Were there celebrations? It seems at times we don’t acknowledge the achievements in renewable energy that are taking place. Rather, the general perception seems to be one of attempting to fill up an enormous hole. (David Brower was reputed to have told fellow activists to allow themselves some enjoyment on their journeys, or else they would suffer too much.) These renewable energy achievements are taking place amidst economic struggles around the world, and one might imagine, given the overall gloom, they are not being recognized enough.
Most of the solar capacity is in Gujarat, and there is also an additional 85 MW of off-grid PV solar. Gujarat Solar Park currently has scores of solar installations totaling about 600 MW, and it is planned to soon expand that capacity to about 1,000 MW. The largest individual solar park there is Charanka, with about 200 MW, which is expected to grow to 500. Gujarat might have 10,000 MW in a decade, said one local official, but this estimate may be too optimistic.
For the current fiscal year, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has set goals of adding another 800 MW of solar and 2,500 of wind. Also, the overall goal of 20,000 MW of solar by 2022 has been discussed, but even that would be only about 5% of India’s power-generating capacity.
Off-grid solar might swell to 1,000 MW installed per year by 2016.
Replacing diesel generators and coal-burning plants would certainly reduce air pollution, and that would likely to be a better long-term economic strategy. Importing fuel that also pollutes the air is hardly a solution, though it has been common practice.
Recently a survey found India to be ranked number one in sustainable behaviors. Hopefully that will lead to a lot more solar.
Image Credit: Uday Parmar