India Now - page 42

40
FEBRUARY-MARCH 2015
|
S EC TORAL UPDAT E
S O L A R E N E R G Y
Sunny Side Up
India is looking to the sun to harness
its huge energy resources.
BY CHARU BAHRI
SOLAR ENERGY
S
pectacular increase in India’s solar energy harness-
ing capacity these last two years shows that the
country has set its sights firmly on the sun. In 2012
alone, the country’s solar capacity climbed from 2.5
MW to 1,759 MW. Since then, the installed capacity
has increased to 2,647 MW—a mega boost, no doubt, but
still miles away from the country’s estimated annual solar
potential of 6 billion GWh. The Government of India has set
an ambitious target of increasing the country’s 1,000 MW
per year solar market by 100 times in the next seven years.
The government renewed its clean energy commitment
with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy revising the
also helped lessen the average thickness of solar cells from 300
μm to 180 μm, and thereby cut the quantity of silicon needed
to manufacture solar panels from about 16 g/W to 6 g/W.
Installed manufacturing capacity has increased manifold
globally, especially in Asia, flooding the market with com-
petitively priced solar energy plant modules. “Essentially, the
excess installed capacity of such modules has tilted market
prices in favour of buyers,” explains Dr Arul Shanmugasun-
dram, Executive Vice President, Projects & CTO, Tata Power
Solar. As a result, India has seen a steep drop in solar energy
costs. “Per unit costs have almost halved, from about
`
13 per
unit to around
`
7 per unit,” observes Shanmugasundram.
renewable energy capacity target
to 175,000 MW till 2022, with
100,000 MW solar, 60,000 MW
wind, 10,000 MW biomass and
5,000 MW small hydro.
The Game Changers
One of the biggest game chang-
ers for the solar movement
has been the global fall in the
prices of silicon, the mainstay
of the solar industry. “Silicon
price drops in recent years have
helped bring down the cost of
solar panels by about 65 per
cent. Solar panels constitute
just over half of the cost of solar
projects. About a fifth of this has
been wiped out by the fall in the
rupee, but the downward trend
is still very much palpable,” says
Amit Rane, Founder & Manag-
ing Director, Wudmin Energy,
and advisor, RelyOn Solar.
Significant technology advance-
ment over the last decade has
1...,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41 43,44,45,46,47,48,49,50,51,52,...68
Powered by FlippingBook