Solar energy in India has been a topic for discussion among experts, observers, analysts, industry players, and magnates. India has been keen for a while to shoulder a leadership role in creating an alternate source of solar energy, meeting the immediate needs in that space, and also to be economically placed on an equal footing with other countries. Solar energy provides immense opportunities for growth and development. Domestic manufacturers and associations are looking to expand India’s footprint in the long term. At present, the market and current recipients are focused on short-term gains.
The Indian government has switched to an auction-based allocation for solar power. The lowest solar tariffs now amount to US$0.04 (Rs. 2.44 for solar).
According to the latest notification by MNRE::
- Central Financial Assistance (CFA) for the residential sector has been restructured with availability of 40% CFA for Rooftop Solar systems up to 3 kW capacity and 20% for Rooftop Solar systems of capacity beyond 3 kW and up to 10 kW
- For Group Housing Societies/Residential Welfare Associations (GHS/RAW), CFA will be limited to 20% for Rooftop Solar plants for supply of power to common facilities, however, the capacity eligible for CFA for GHS/RAW will be limited to 10 kW per house with maximum total capacity upto 500 kWp, inclusive of Rooftop Solar plant put in individual houses in the GHS/RWA
- CFA under residential category will be provided for 4000 MW capacity and the same will be provided on the basis of benchmark cost or tender cost, which is lower
- Central financial assistance will not be available for other category i.e., institutional, educational, social, government, commercial, industrial, etc.
India also has a $3 billion PRAYAS (Pradhan Mantri Yojana for Augmenting Solar Manufacturing) or “Make in India” policy for solar companies announced in October 2016. As per plan, it aims to create a 5 GW of manufacturing capacity by 2019. But this project is yet to be launched.
MNRE (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy – Central Government) has also set the target to install 227 Gigawatt by 31st March 2022. To achieve this target, the government is promoting solar in many ways and has sanctioned an amount of Rs. 5000 Cr for solar subsidies only.
The Indian Government has mandated various policies and subsidies on specific materials imported for manufacture of solar power generation products as well as for use in solar power generation projects. Thus one can see that the potential is huge in India. And it would be good to see domestic solar panel manufacturers prosper. India has a large pool of talent and labor force. One can imagine Indian solar companies should invest more in advancing technologies and R&D rather than just increasing manufacturing capacities. After all, these domestic companies have an advantage of better knowledge, which only makes it a matter of time before Indian solar companies make it to the top.