SOLAR ENERGY IN INDIA – FUTURE CHALLENGES
India is adopting solar energy quite positively, and huge target are being set with a proper timeline too. But, there are challenges, which the country need to tackle first, to make solar energy projects a ground reality.
At times, when Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) targets to install 100GW by the year 2022, the market atmosphere is very conducting about solar energy in india. The new government has been very positive until now, talking in terms of taking decisions. But, all this is just a proposed thing for now and making it a ground reality, is indeed a very big challenge. To get our work to stand in line with our greater ambitions, we have to do the confronting on many fronts, say technical or political and most importantly the awareness among the society.
It’s true that government has shown its trust on solar energy, but at the same time it is promoting conventional energy too and the main drawback of conventional energy is its environmental impacts. But government is right in its move on coal because renewables have not yet shown their true potential to provide energy 24X7.
CHALLENGES FOR SOLAR ENERGY IN INDIA
GRID INTEGRATION OF SOLAR PROJECTS
When we are promoting solar energy, one of the major concern is connectivity with the grid. The integration of power with the grid in an effectively is a major concern these days. We need to promote the use of smart meters to get better accountability of the power generated at the plant level and what is reaching the grid. Also looking from the solar rooftop perspective, smart meters are necessary if we are going for grid tied projects.
NET METERING POLICY
Apart from MW scale power plants, rooftops are going to play a vital role to achieve our 100GW target. It is estimated that nearly 35% of this total generation would come from rooftop projects. But the main challenge in rooftops is the absence of net metering policy. The net metering based rooftop solar projects facilitates the self-consumption of electricity generating by the rooftop project and allows for feeding the surplus into the network of the distribution licensee. The type of ownership structure for installation of such net metering based rooftop solar systems becomes an important parameter for defining the different rooftop solar models. This is also one of the major challenge faced by companies providing rooftop solutions. For the rapid implementation of the rooftop projects, net metering policy should be implemented at the earliest by the government.
COMPETING WITH CONVENTIONAL POWER PLANTS
Solar photovoltaic accounts for nearly 95 percent of the solar power generation in India. The main drawback being that it works for 8 hours a day. On the other front solar thermal power plants have the potential to work for 24 hours a day, provided with the thermal storage solutions. Indeed, solar thermal power poses a greater challenge to conventional thermal plants, as they can beat their efficiency along with the added benefit of zero carbon emission.
REFORMS IN POLICY FRAMEWORK
The policies need to be reformed, we have to bring more liberal policies. As it is evident that even when the government is promoting solar energy but on the ground, progress in very less. A few states are no doubt generating solar energy with good numbers, but majority of the states are lagging far behind. The policy framework needs to be reformed as early as possible, because the climate change is also happening fast and we need to switch to clean and sustainable energy at the earliest.
STRENGTHENING THE MANUFACTURING SECTOR
The major hurdle in the progress of the solar in India, is the absence of manufacturing facilities for production of solar cells. India, at this hour demands to have its very own indigenous solar technology. It will also strengthen the country economically, also the “Make in India” initiative will be promoted.
The challenges are many and one can never list all of them together. These challenges mentioned here give a brief outlook of bigger picture. The people of the India have to work optimistically to make India an Energy independent country, we have to take things in own hands to make things possible. We cannot leave everything in hands of government
As Sir John F Kennedy rightly quoted, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. We need to work with this feeling of absolute altruism for the country, then only we can be called a developed country.
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Pranav Bargotra ( M.Tech)
School of Solar Energy, PDPU