The Indian solar energy sector has been growing rapidly in the past few years, primarily due to Government’s intervention. Indian Government is adopting productive steps towards implementing large-scale solar power projects and is determined to position itself as one of the world’s leading solar producer. Through various initiatives such as incentive schemes, tax exemptions and subsidies, the government is trying to create demand and boost investments in the sector. The Government’s focus on achieving ‘Power for all’ has fast-tracked capacity addition in the country. The recent trends that have been emerging in the solar industry have been:

Emergence of distributed generation
Indian_solar_industryDistributed generation
is the best way to bridge the gap between supply and demand by reducing Aggregate Technical and Commercial losses and carbon foot prints. This is a distinct trend that we have been observing in the past year or so. It is a key driver for electrifying villages and meeting any latent demand in the system. Distributed generation can also help overcome shortfalls in the transmission and distribution infrastructure and is also one of the building blocks for the smart city mission packages.

Govt. Support and policies
The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy is implementing two national level programmes— Grid Connected Rooftop & Small Solar Power Plants Programme and Off-Grid & Decentralised Solar Applications, to promote installation of solar rooftop systems. Additionally, the State Bank of India (SBI) has signed an agreement with The World Bank for Rs 4,200 crore credit facility, aimed at financing Grid Connected Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic (GRPV) projects in India. For the states to complement the government’s plan to achieve 175 gigawatts of renewable power by 2022, they are to prepare action plans with year-wise targets to introduce renewable energy technologies and install solar rooftop panels.

Using unproductive lands as solar parks
There is a major dearth of adequate land in states like Bengal, Bihar, Odisha and Assam to generate solar energy to meet India’s target of land-based solar energy. To tackle the problems of acquiring land for solar park projects and keeping costs down, the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) has come out with fresh guidelines that allow state governments to use unproductive and non-agricultural land for solar park projects. This will result in minimum use of private land and costs incurred for land acquisition for solar park projects.

Off-Grid Solar Applications
The Govt. of India has implemented solar off-grid energy policy to boost the use of new and renewable energy. The policy aims to increase the use of green energy to preserve environment and curb the growing issue of waste disposal. The policy expects use of more solar products, bio gas and bio fertilizer plants in housing societies, government and private offices and other establishments. From designing and engineering, to procurement and construction of solar power plants, Bosch Energy and Building Solutions provides turnkey project development services along with operations and maintenance contracts

Long term energy partnerships
Partnerships and investments in the solar sector have been at an all-time high lately. The World Bank Group has committed to provide US$ 1 billion for India’s solar energy projects. The bank also plans to work with other multilateral development banks and financial institutions to develop financing instruments to support future solar energy development in the country. The Government of India and the Government of the United Kingdom have signed an agreement to work in collaboration in the fields of solar energy. This partnership is expected to yield high quality and high impact research outputs that have industrial relevance, and are targeted towards addressing local needs. With the increasing share of renewable energy, the Government of India has decided to operate on a separate power trading platform. The proposed platform would help states buy, sell and trade renewable-based power.

By: Venugopalan (Head Energy business, Bosch India)

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