The green energy race is on and so far India is poised to become a clean energy leader over the next decade. India’s economy has boasted rapid growth over the past few years and its power grid is being pushed to maximum capacity. In order to fuel future growth it needs to expand its current energy source.
But in a surprising move for some, India has decided to make clean energy a central plank of its energy platform. In January 2010, it launched the National Solar Mission which set a goal of installing 20GW of solar capacity by 2022. But as the price for solar panels continues to drop, India looks like it may be expanding these goals to 33.4GW of solar capacity by 2022.
It should now come as no surprise that India’s clean energy investments have risen faster than any other country in the world.
But why has India shifted so much towards clean energy? Wouldn’t coal be cheaper?
Probably the biggest reason for India’s surge in solar power is that the price for solar panels is hovering close to grid-parity with coal and natural gas. As technology improves and prices continue to decrease, it could in fact be cheaper to generate power from solar than other energy sources.
In addition, India’s coal sector is in disarray due to corruption and inefficient policies. The sooner the country moves away from coal, the sooner it can embrace more effective and reliable policies.
Finally, India has the necessary geographical assets to capitalize on solar power. Many parts of the country feature flat expanses of land that receive lots of sunlight every year.
What are your thoughts on India’s clean energy push? Do you think other countries will look to India for policies on clean energy?
Image CC licensed by Ho John Lee: Solar panels in India