The solar energy capacity in India, as per some estimates, may double to nearly 18 GW in 2017. A Mercom report said that the sector may add nearly 9 GW this year and a Bridge to India report said that India’s solar market may grow by 90%, making it one of the top global markets. But as a cause of worry, incomplete infrastructure at solar parks in India is hurting the development of some largescale solar power projects. To put things in perspective, out of the 100 GW solar target, 20 GW is allocated to solar parks and 34 solar parks have been planned across 21 Indian states.
This year some growth areas could be solar water pumps, solar rooftops, rural electrification, local manufacturing and wind energy. As per estimates, the solar water pumping systems market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 18.7% from FY 2017-22. Currently, 26 million agricultural pumps are installed of which nearly 7 million pumps are diesel-based and the remaining are grid-connected. However, due to unreliable grid supply and increasing diesel prices, solar water pumping system offers a huge opportunity to replace conventional pumps. So far, over 90,000 solar pumps have been installed as on 31 October 2016.
Solar rooftops: The target of 40 GW rooftop solar is considered to be a steep one by some analysts and so far about 500 MW (till 31 October 2016) has been installed. In view of the challenges, extension of Accelerated Depreciation (which till date has been quite vital for growth of the rooftop segment) and successful implementation of net metering schemes would be crucial.
Rural electrification: Measures were taken to electrify 18,452 villages across the country by 2018. In this regard, off-grid RE solutions, including mini-grids, could be considered as good options since they can be deployed rapidly, be customised to local needs and reach areas where grid extension is unviable. These solutions could also be extended for solar-powered irrigation to reduce vulnerability to erratic rainfall and help build climate-resilient infrastructure in remote areas.
Local manufacturing: Power Minister Piyush Goyal said that a scheme to promote domestic manufacturing of solar panels and making wind power affordable through an auction of sites will lead to a packed 2017. A Rs 21,000-crore module is intended to create 5 GW of PV manufacturing capacity by 2019 and 20 GW by 2026.
Now if only there was some more traction in terms of energy storage solutions in view of intermittent RE, which could also work for the electric cars segment to help cut down on petrol and diesel consumption, even while cutting down carbon emissions.