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In India, electricity transition had a promising beginning. Reduction in cost of solar and wind energy generation equipment, cheap financing and convenient policy environment were the major reasons for such a changeover. And now, solar energy, one of the best forms of renewable energy, has taken centre stage in the country. Significant development of energy infrastructure needed to meet our economic goals is the driving force behind it. The government, in 2016, set a target to achieve 175 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy by financial year 2021/22 and 275 GW by financial year 2026/27. This was done to promote use of low-cost, low-emission and reliable system as opposed to expensive, polluting and unreliable fossil-fuel based structures.
Battling a plethora of policy and project execution issues, India’s utility-scale solar park model has succeeded in gaining a strong foothold in the renewable energy sector. Solar parks are large-scale photovoltaic systems (PV systems), usually with a capacity more than 1000 MW, that are designed to supply merchant power into the electricity grid. They are different from most building-mounted decentrilized solar power structures due to their unique character of distributing power at the utility level, rather than to local users. The power source is through photovoltaic modules that convert light to electricity. For a variety of reasons, photovoltaic technology has seen much wider usage than other forms of solar power generation. In the last few years, PV technology has reduced the installation cost per watt and its energy payback time (EPBT), and also improved electricity generating efficiency. Progressively, it is becoming a viable source of mainstream power.
India’s Ultra-Mega Solar Parks
India has been a pioneer in promoting the idea of ultra-mega power plant (UMPP) in a single solar park of industrial use. Initially, in 2016, the country’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy set an impressive target of 40 industrial parks with a combined capacity of 20 GW. And spectacularly enough, the target was doubled to 40 GW in 2017.
Some of India’s most important solar parks are:
India and the International Solar Alliance
The objective of International Solar Alliance (ISA) is ultimate solar power utilization. To work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependency on fossil fuels forms the primary agenda of ISA. The launching of this alliance at the Paris Conference had a convincing reason behind. This timely launch showcased that the developing countries are ready to work against use of fossil fuels and climate change same as the developed nations. This alliance displays their determination and willingness to work towards a better future. It is based on world-cooperation.
With the support from developed countries like France, India invited various nations to help support infrastructure for implementation of huge solar projects. The ISA has been committed $1 Trillion as investment and is working for making solar power easily affordable to remote villages and inaccessible areas. This alliance also has the capability to endorse India in achieving its 2022 energy target in addition to providing 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022. It is also seen as a joint effort on the part of developing countries to help in research for development of large scale solar power projects. This alliance is built on trust within the developing world nations and aims to reach its targets within a desirable time frame. Another possible benefit for India, in addition to creating a safe, renewable and affordable energy resource, is that the country can strengthen its ties with major African and tropical nations so as to create goodwill amongst them.
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