India’s Insolationby Marc O’Bryan

As India’s economic development continues to progress, the country’s demand for energy is on the rise. India’s renewable energy sector is still underdeveloped, leaving a great deal of room for improvement. With its growing economy, India is experiencing a serious electricity shortage that experts estimate to run between 10 to 13 percent of daily demand. In addition to this energy shortage, a large portion of the country does not have electrical grids set up, especially in rural areas.

The responsibility of improving solar energy production falls under the duties of India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. Due simply to the luck of its geography and position on the globe, India has an enormous opportunity to not only meet these rising energy demands, but to do so in a cost effective, environmentally sustainable way. India’s efforts to develop wind power generation have seen enormous payoffs with 68.9% of India’s renewable energy coming from wind power. Through intensified domestic support from the country’s policymakers, India has become the world’s fifth largest producer of wind power. At the same time, India has lagged behind in the development of solar power generation with only 4.6% of its renewable energy coming from solar energy. India is fortunate to have a high level of solar insolation, which is a measure of the amount of energy from solar radiation that is received on a given surface area. With this natural geographical advantage, India has the potential to meet much more of its energy demands through solar power.

India is seeing increasing incentives to promote the development of solar power generation through the use of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels.  Using semiconductors, these PV panels are able to convert solar radiation directly into usable electricity. The prices of these PV panels are currently falling as improved technology makes them easier to produce. Combined with the rising cost of India’s traditional grid power, these cost effective PV panels offer India a long-term sustainable solution to their rising energy demands.

India has already begun to invest heavily in the development of domestic solar power generation. The Indian government is finally moving forward with a long-term solar power expansion plan that will increase India’s ability to produce solar power by nearly 800%. The government has committed to spend up to 60 billion rupees ($1.1 billion) to reach this production goal. Many large scale projects are finally seeing some headway as indicated by a 35,000 square km section of the Thar Desert being set aside for solar power development.

It is great to see India making a genuine effort to produce more sustainable energy. India is setting a great example for other developing nations who are all searching for a competitive advantage. This drive to sustain their growing economy with increased production of renewable energy will undoubtedly give India an enormous advantage as they compete in an increasingly competitive global environment.

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One Response to India’s Insolationby Marc O’Bryan

  1. Stephen Allison says:

    I wonder if India is producing their own panels or buying from China? Isn’t China the reason why Solyndra went bankrupt? Chinese panels are unparalleled for their performance and price. While I do not want to see any country gain a monopoly on panel production, I do realize that if India bought Chinese panels instead of buying their own they could build better solar farms by investing the money instead on infrastructure such as the electrical grid.

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