Solar Energy in India – Make in India – Recent Activities

Energy Economy is gradually making a transition from conventional energy sources to distributed renewable energy. Solar, wind and hydroelectricity are the three emerging renewable sources of energy. In the clean energy sector, India is playing the role of a responsible global leader. Last year at the Paris climate summit, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi along with President of France Mr. François Hollande launched an international solar alliance of over 120 countries. Mr. Modi has described the solar alliance as “the sunrise of a new hope” and he said that “the dream of universal access to clean energy is becoming more real. This will be the foundation of the new economy of the new century.”

Earlier as the chief minister of Gujarat, PM Narendra Modi has encouraged and supported energy companies to build more than 900MW of solar plants across the state. Under his regime, Gujarat has become the first state in the country to announce Solar Power Policy with targets and implementation mechanism.

In India, Gujarat is a model state for solar energy developments. Gujarat has made significant progress in solar energy industry. This state has presented an economy model based on solar energy that many countries in world aims to replicate.

Gujarat farmers are now the new prosumers of solar energy. Through farmer’s cooperative like Dhundi Saur Urja Utpadak Mandali which is the world’s “first solar irrigation cooperative”, farmers are not only irrigating their fields for free but they are also selling the surplus power produced in their farms to the electricity grid. The solar irrigation pumps installed in farmer’s fields are connected to the power grid of Madhya Gujarat Vij Company Limited (MGVCL), and a 25-year power purchase agreement has been signed that allows the farmers to sell back the surplus energy at a rate of Rs 4.63 per unit. This model has made Sunshine a new cash crop for Indian farmers. Now, this solar irrigation cooperative model is spanning across the country and other states are enthusiastically adopting this model and benefiting from it. Our states like Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Goa are doing excellent work to boost renewable energy sector in India.

In India we do not consider the sun as just another source of energy, we consider Sun as a God and we have a tradition of sun worshipping. Our government has asked spiritual leaders to install solar power units in their ashrams, or hermitages, and to promote this among millions of their followers. I believe when spiritual leaders will act as the brand ambassadors of solar energy, the scale of solar adoption would be tremendous.

Last year at the launch of International Solar Alliance, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has said that “As the developing world lift billions of people into prosperity, our hope for a sustainable planet rests on a bold global initiative. It will mean advanced countries leaving enough carbon space for developing countries to grow. That is natural climate justice. It also means a growth path with a lighter carbon footprint. So, convergence between economy, ecology, and energy should define our future.”

One more thing which is unique about India’s approach is that we are offering support to other countries in their process of renewable energy transition too, last year we have offered to illuminate thousands of homes in Pacific island nations with solar power to help them combat climate change and natural disasters, that’s the approach of a true leader.