The Rise of Solar Power in India

Solar Power in India

With solar grids having a cumulative capacity of 13.11 GW, India has emerged as the powerhouse for solar energy power generation and has quadrupled its solar production capacity right from 2,650 MW on 26 May 2014 to 12,289 MW on 31 March 2017. As an addition to huge-scale grid-connected solar PV initiative, India is also focusing on developing off-grid solar power for local energy needs.

Over the last three decades, quite a lot of solar energy based systems and devices have been developed and set up in India that is effectively providing energy solutions for lighting, cooking, water heating, air heating, cooling, and electricity generation. In a country like India, where electricity can be a luxury due to a strong deficiency of electricity, solar products have come as a source of relief.

One such example is the sale of less than 1 million solar lanterns at the end of 2015 that have drastically reduced the need for kerosene. In the eighteen months ranging from July 2015 to December 2016, India has granted 15.9 GW of solar projects.The solar energy in India can be used via solar photovoltaic technology that enables direct conversion of sunlight into electrical or other forms of energy as well as solar thermal technologies that make use of the solar energy heat for useful applications.

In the year of August 2016, the prediction for solar photovoltaic installations was nearly 4.8 GW annually. Also, about 2.8 GW was installed in the initial eight months of 2016. Such is the growth potential of India that we have successfully launched the largest solar photovoltaic power plant in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

India has made great strides in deploying utility scale solar projects through an impressive tender process. In comparison to a majority of the big solar markets around the world like (China, US, Germany, Japan), which have been allocating projects by preference by offering attractive feed-in-tariffs (FITs), India has already started using the auction route for project allocations way back in 2010.

Utility scale solar tenders can be classified into two categories — PPA and EPC. PPA based tenders — where successful bidders, primarily private sector developers like Azure Power, Renew, Sun Edison and Vikram Solar that finance, own, build and operate projects and sell entire power output for a preset tariff consist 82 percent (13.1 GW) of the 15.9 GW tendered capacity. One of the recent examples is a large solar power plant of Punjab Government, set up by Azure Power.

EPC tenders are issued by public sector undertakings like Coal India, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), IREDA (Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd.), APGENCO and Neyveli Lignite, that comprise of the rest 18 percent (2.8 GW) of the entire tendered capacity.

One of the advantages of Utility-Scale Solar Energy Generation is that it is cost effective and time-saving. In places where large scale factories are set up, Utility-Scale Solar Energy Generation comes as a blessing. It provides potential benefit to businesses, consumers, and society. This medium of large scale electricity generation has been a source of clean and reliable form of energy for more than two decades. The plan for the development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects has been envisioned similar to the ‘Charanka Solar Park’ in Gujarat which is the first large scale Solar Park in India with developed land and transmission connectivity as well.

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Originally published at azurepower.quora.com.