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Government initiatives driving solar power in India

Stakeholders weigh in on opportunities and challenges in adoption of solar power

| | Feb 6, 2019 | 10:14 am
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Abu Dhabi, UAE, 6 February 2019: There has been significant uptake in the adoption of solar energy across India, with stakeholders attributing its positive momentum to government incentives and subsidies. Rahul Ghosh, Management Trainee, Industrial Exports, Exide, is one such stakeholder. He said, “The Government of India is doing its best to promote solar power, with public sector initiatives encouraging big companies to install solar panels on rooftops across all the states.”

Rahul Ghosh, Management Trainee, Industrial Exports, Exide

Ghosh said that high-rises would have solar power on rooftops or even façades to generate power, which would then go to the main grid system, before being distributed and utilised by surrounding schools. “This saves energy because, with 130 million people, the amount of energy you are utilising is crazy,” he said. “If, today, you calculate the amount of energy being supplied by solar in India, it is increasing every year by an average estimate of 15-20%. By 2025 we feel that a minimum of 40-45% of the total energy generated in the country should come from solar.” This, he said, is why the company introduced battery storage and lithium ion systems. Ghosh said that most houses in India, today, opt for rooftop solar solutions to take advantage of the sun and that its popularity can be felt, especially in remote areas, where people “suffer from the power crunch”.

Commenting on the uptake of solar power in the agricultural sector, Ramesh Patidar, Director, Shakti Pumps, exporters of solar pumping systems, said that there are more than 100 pumps running with solar energy, which have gained in popularity in areas where there is no electricity and farmers would otherwise be dependent on rain. “The Government of India is promoting solar aggressively and for the benefit of the people and the nation,” he said. This, he said, is compounded by the need to alleviate the burden from the electricity grid and meet demand for grid connections. “There are more than 100,000 applications pending to get electricity,” he said. “If a farmer is two kilometres away, and I provide an application to the government to supply the grid, the government has to prepare the transmission line for two kilometres. It’s more expensive than the solar pumps. That’s why the government is encouraging farmers, ‘Don’t use the electricity, use the solar power’. It is also less burden on the grid, you can use the surface power for other sectors.” As such, he said, the government has been rolling out subsidies in an effort to encourage further adoption of solar energy among farmers.

On whether solar power can improve in a way that it can address the need for cooling in India, SP Garnaik, Chief General Manager, EESL, said that while it is a valid option, there has been no movement for solar-powered air conditioning yet, as the increase in cost needed would be too high, adding that power to operate air conditioning systems would still be based on grid and conventional energy.

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