Solar Energy – Potential & Challenges

Solar Energy – Potential & Challenges

                                                                                  :Sandeepan

India being a tropical country and has a great solar energy potential. This has  not been exploited fully so far.  India can do much more to increase solar power capacity and meet its renewables target.

News:

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has cleared a plan to double the capacity of solar power installed in dedicated solar parks to 40 gigawatts by 2020, with partial government fiscal assistance, for achieving the goal of creating a base of 100 gigawatts by 2022.

Problems in Solar Energy Poularisation:

  1. Needs large land area,Land being the most expensive commodity in India and also land acquisition is a state subject which involves a lot of factors.
  2. Solar panels has a high initial cost and the maintenance cost is very high.
  3. Connectivity to Grid is not easy from remote areas,due to availability of network and frequency mismatch.
  4. Funding of project and the subsidies thereof are not very smooth.

 

Positives to go for:

  • To keep carbon emissions in check under the Paris Agreement on climate change.
    • It can create additional employment, with overall economic dividends.
    • Globally, jobs in solar energy have witnessed the fastest growth since 2011 among various renewable energy sectors.
    • Asia has harnessed the potential the most, providing 60% of all renewable energy employment, while China enjoys the bulk of this with a thriving solar photovoltaic and thermal manufacturing industry, besides installations.
  • Apart from generating capacity, India should take a close look at competitive manufacturing of the full chain of photovoltaics and open training facilities to produce the human resources the industry will need in the years ahead.
  • Renewables and new energy storage technologies are on course to overshadow traditional fossil fuel-based sources of power as the costs decline.

Challenges :

Low-cost financing channels hold the key to quick augmentation of solar generating capacity.

  • The trend in some emerging economies, including India, has been a reduction in public financing of renewable energy projects over the last five years.
    • This has implications for equity in the long run, and electricity regulators should fix tariffs taking into account the reduction in the levelised cost of electricity (the average break-even price over a project’s lifetime).
    • Yet, recourse to other funding options, including regulated debt instruments such as green bonds, would be necessary to achieve early, ambitious targets.
    • Without realistic purchase prices, utilities could resort to curtailment of renewable power sources on non-technical considerations, affecting investments.
  • The funding mix for renewables, therefore, should give climate financing an important role. At the Paris UN Climate Change Conference, developed countries pledged to raise $100 billion a year by 2020 for mitigation, and more in later years, a promise that needs to be vigorously pursued.

To Conclude:

Besides promoting phase two of the solar parks plan, and powering public facilities such as railway stations and stadia using solar power, the Centre should put in place arrangements that make it easier for every citizen and small business to adopt rooftop solar.

This is crucial to achieving the overall goal of 100 GW from this plentiful source of energy by 2022, and to raise the share of renewables in the total energy mix to 40 per cent in the next decade.


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