Illuminating Earth Day: How Solar Technology Paves the Way to Sustainable Energy Solutions

Illuminating Earth Day: How Solar Technology Paves the Way to Sustainable Energy Solutions
How Solar Technology Paves the Way to Sustainable Energy Solutions
This article has been contributed by Ishan Chaturvedi, Co-Founder & Director at Vareyn Solar Pvt Ltd.

Solar energy has become a strong pillar of India's renewable energy capacity. As per a recent report, “Energy Statistics 2024,” by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, the potential for approximate renewable energy generation in India is at a staggering 2,109,654 MW as of March 31, 2023, with solar accounting for 35.50%.

As India races toward ambitious renewable energy targets, solar technology is paving the way for widespread sustainable energy solutions. Solar energy is perfectly suited to India's diverse climate patterns, as we receive sunlight for approximately 300 days in a year. This ensures consistent energy generation throughout the year. As per the REN21 Renewables 2022 Global Status Report, India stands 4th globally in renewable energy installed capacity (including large hydro) and 4th in solar power capacity.

The installed solar energy capacity has increased by 30 times in the last 9 years and stands at 75.57 GW as of February 2024. Large-scale solar parks, like the Bhadla Solar Park in Rajasthan, with a capacity of over 2.2 GW, have played a pivotal role in boosting solar energy production. Additionally, the cost of solar power has significantly decreased over the years, making solar energy cost- competitive with conventional sources and increasing accessibility.

Solar Energy and its Impact on Sustainable Energy Solutions
Impact on Local Communities

Solar Energy and its Impact on Sustainable Energy Solutions

Solar technology is transforming regions and industries across India. Rajasthan has emerged as a solar energy pioneer, hosting some of the nation's largest solar installations. Solar-powered irrigation pumps are transforming agriculture in states like Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and boosting agricultural productivity.

Solar power adoption is beneficial and affordable for all the major revenue-generating industries: For instance:

Agriculture: Solar is working wonders for the agricultural sector in India. Agricultural operations, including poultry, animal husbandry, and dairy farms, need a lot of electricity and utilize major energy resources. These operations often have massive roofs or field spaces, which are ideal for solar PV plant installation.

Operations such as temperature modulation and ventilation, storage, irrigation systems, etc., when undertaken by a solar PV plant, can help save major financial resources. Solar energy helps cut energy costs and increase productivity and profit. The farmers can benefit from the reduced electricity cost and can streamline these profits into diversification of revenue streams and investment in proper crop rotation.

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Manufacturing: Manufacturing consumes large amounts of electricity. Almost every manufacturing industry imaginable, be it clothing, lifestyle, automobiles, machinery, PPE, etc., can benefit from solar PV plants. Manufacturing structures are usually large structures with a lot of roof or ground space. These are ideal for a solar PV plant installation. Adoption of solar energy removes a major portion of expenditure costs. This saves significant costs, helps in increasing profits, and is good for the environment as well.

Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Industry: Hospitals require 24-hour electricity. With multiple machines, storage units, etc., they tend to consume a lot of electricity. The pharmaceutical sector also runs on large amounts of energy owing to its cold storage units, distribution centers, R&D, etc. With the help of solar energy, hospitals, cold storage facilities, laboratories, pharmaceutical manufacturing units, etc. can maintain optimum services with reduced electricity costs. The adoption of solar power can also help in setting up proper healthcare facilities in the rural regions of the country.

The recent report “Energy Statistics 2024” by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation further highlights the transition in India’s energy mix, noting a significant growth in the installed capacity of renewable energy sources (other than hydro) at 12.20% over the previous year. Solar power, including rooftop installations, constituted approximately 53.4% of this capacity. Solar power specifically witnessed a remarkable growth rate of 23.68% from the fiscal year 2021–22 to 2022–23. The installation of solar street lighting systems saw a growth of 1.1% over the previous year, while solar photovoltaic plants registered a substantial increase of 50.6% . These statistics prove that solar technology is making sustainable energy solutions accessible.

Solar Energy Capacity in India from 2009 to 2022
Solar Energy Capacity in India from 2009 to 2022

Impact on Local Communities

India’s solar energy potential is estimated to be 748 GWp by the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) . The adoption of solar energy not only fuels industrial growth but also empowers local communities. Decentralized solar installations on rooftops can make communities self-sufficient in energy, democratizing energy access and enabling individuals to contribute to India's transition toward cleaner energy sources.

The recent initiative by the Government of India, PM-Surya Ghar Muft Bijli Yojana, aims at providing financial assistance to 1 crore houses for installing roof-top solar panels. This ground-breaking initiative will take the electricity bills’ financial burden off citizens who need it and even help them make substantial gains from the rooftop panels installed on their terraces.
Solar technology harnesses the power of the sun, an abundant source. Therefore, it
presents a dependable and scalable approach to curbing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change concerns. By broadening the array of sustainable energy solutions and reducing dependence on fossil fuels, solar technology will continue to play a significant role in enabling India and the world to fulfill their climate objectives and pave the way for a sustainable future.

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