As per the Ministry of Renewable Energy, India achieved the fifth global position in solar-powered deployment by surpassing Italy. Solar Power capacity has increased by over 11 times in the last five years, from 2.6 GW in March 2014 to 30 GW in July 2019. India is blessed with vast solar potential. About 5000 trillion kWh per year of energy is incident over India’s land area. And most parts of the country receive 4-7 KWh per square meter per day. Till now India has done a remarkable job harnessing solar energy. From an energy security perspective, solar is the most promising source of energy than conventional energy.
National Institute of the Solar Energy (NISE) has assessed the country’s solar potential of about 748 GW assuming 3 per cent of the wasteland to be covered with PV panels. Solar energy has taken a central place in India’s National Action Plan on climate change with the National Solar Mission (NSM) as one of the key missions. NSM is a major initiative of the government of India with active participation from the state to promote ecologically sustainable growth while addressing India’s energy security. In order to achieve the set target government of India, has launched various schemes to encourage the generation of solar power in the country, like solar parks scheme, VGF scheme, CPSO scheme, Defence scheme and many more.
Solar panel systems are divided into two systems: off-grid and on-grid. Off-grid solar power systems aimed to provide energy to areas where power is not available or unreliable. On-grid solar power system generates power using solar power system and is directly connected to the utility grid and works in collaboration with the power grid. On-grid is best suitable when power demand is high.
Recently, MNRE has proposed a 25-year document which has proposed replacing coal-based power generation capacity by setting up the installed renewable energy generation to 85 per cent of the total requirement. The vision of the document is to freeze coal-based power generation capacity and gradually cease the plants as they age. This means renewable energy is the target to replace the coal in coming future.
But how environmentally friendly is solar energy? Is it true that putting so many panels is healthy for the environment?
Emission of CO2
To meet the net-zero carbon emission target by 2070, the government plan to create an additional solar manufacturing capacity of 25 GW each of solar cells and modules and 10 GW of wafers. India currently has a manufacturing capacity of 3 GW of solar cells and 15 GW for modules. The plan is to escalate the manufacturing process following an additional allocation of Rs 19,500 crores for the production-linked-incentive (PLI) scheme for high-efficiency solar modules in the FY23 Union Budget. PM of India claims the budget will not only ensure green growth but will also generate green jobs. India’s largest solar PV module manufacturing company is Waare Engineers. They have the largest solar PV module manufacturing capacity of 2 GWs in Surat and Umbergaon in Gujarat. From there they transport solar panels to the rest part of the country. Apart from this, India imports more solar from China (87.67%), Malaysia (94.65 per cent), Taiwan (1.70 per cent), and Singapore (1.03 per cent) as per data from 2017.
A study was conducted where LCA in …….