In One Year, India Doubles Its Rooftop Solar Power Capacity

In One Year, India Doubles Its Rooftop Solar Power Capacity

On the surface India may not look like the greenest nation in the world, what with the piles of rubbish adorning street corners and the near-solid atmosphere in the metropolitan cities. But there is a quiet revolution going on, one that aims to bring sustainability to the country in a big way. The Rooftop Solar Project has been an ongoing venture by the Indian Government for the last few years, but in 2014 Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his goal to increase the capacity to 100 Gigawatts (GW) by 2022, a goal that was five times higher than the previous target.
This goal initially seemed overambitious but this year India has proved that they’re up to the challenge, since 2015 the solar power capacity has doubled in the country. A staggering  513 Megawatts (MW) of rooftop solar power has been added which is a growth rate of 113 percent, putting the total power output at 1020 MW or 1 GW.
Larger corporations such as the Adani group have also been making major inroads into the solar power business. In September they launched the largest single-location solar power project in the world. Their plant in Kamuthi, Tamil Nadu, is part of a government scheme to generate 3 GW of power inline. Between projects like this and the rooftop project India’s total solar power output stands at 5.4 GW which, while commendable, is nowhere near the 100 GW target.

Image Source: SteelGuru

A number of organisation in the public sphere are working to establish the solar power industry on a more accessible level; one of them is 8minutes, a company set up to help people navigate the rooftop solar panel process. They aim to decentralise solar power and make it available to everyone at zero cost in order to aid the country’s transition to sustainable power. We spoke to Arjun Srihari from 8minutes about his hopes for a solar powered future; “Modi’s goal is ambitious but the government is doing a considerable part to make it happen. The system is on track but bureaucracy needs to be checked and the policies in place need better implementation. They need to translate their efforts to better on-ground training,” he says.
The solar power industry is a huge untapped market for India and the inroads being made by larger corporations are a necessity.With public sector companies being unable to match the large investment potential of private corporations, Utility-Scale Solar may become the only option. So no matter where the power originates, as long as people are embracing solar power it’s a win for everyone. The next phase should ideally be focussed on educating the general public, emphasising that the switch to renewable energy will not only benefit the environment but also save them money in the long run.
At this rate of progress Arjun believes that we will be able to achieve the 100 GW goal by 2022, however if we take into consideration the current rate of population growth and energy consumption, at the end of the day 100 GW will only provide 15 percent of the country’s demand. This unnerving statistic proves that although India is on the right track when it comes to sustainable power, there needs to be a major hike in the production level both in the private and public spheres if we want to incite a significant change and ensure a safe, eco-friendly future.

Feature image courtesy of SteelGuru