India’s Solar Power Potential

India’s Solar Power Potential


One third of the population (over 450 Million) have no access to power
India’s Power Supply and Demand gap hovers around 8%-10% deficit from the last ten years.
India’s National Electricity Policy aims at an availability of 1000 kWhr per capita per year by 2012.

The two maps above indicate the solar mapping of India’s Potential Solar Radiation Solar PV will become progressively more attractive as the costs go down and the supports from the government also comes to further aid.

Solar PV has largely a great impact on the off-grid options and hence the states such as Rajasthan have a tremendous opportunity to reap from the availability of high Irradiation. This also has a huge impact on the village electrification programs since Solar PV can be a great local power options where the Grid power is unavailable.

We are showing a simple way by which Solar PV could be connected for domestic power needs and if required can feed the surplus power through Grid synchronization. As of now, the Grid synchronization is expensive and unless the capital costs are subsidized through aid programs , it still remains an economic challenge.


The local source of power solving the rural electrification challenges
Reduced dependence on Kerosene which could mean annual savings of 10,000 to 20,000 crores that the government spends by giving subsidies.
Reduction of diesel usage which is currently a big drain on national reserves, and a major cause of air pollution.
Additionally Solar PV could power the irrigation pumps which can itself be a huge market. Considering almost 50% of rural population involved in direct or indirect agriculture.
The state or central government subsidy for rural electricity is to the tune of 30,000 to 40,000 crores.
Another big potential is +200,000 cell phone towers that need remote power at a localized level. Supplying electricity to these towers via grid power can be a big challenge. So solar PV comes into the picture here too.
All the above results in employment generation of more than 150,000 by 2020 besides transforming the lives of all involved directly or indirectly.
The lists can go on but the conclusion is that we are sitting on a gold mine of an opportunities. All we have to do is to organize ourselves and reap the benefits of Solar PV for India

The above translates into an increase of 450 billion kWh of additional availability of power.
Our current dependence of power generation from fossil fuels is above 62% and our coal reserves are left for a few decades only.
Our Carbon footprint by the year 2030 would be 1.4 billion metric ton of CO2 (approx 7% of the Global emission)
With all the above mentioned challenging facts, there is a brighter side too. A large part of India is endowed with abundant solar radiation. The figures range from 4 to 7 Kwh per square meter per day. Inspite of regional and daily variation, the average figures are promising. India has more than 300 sunny days, every year. Theoretically speaking approximately 2000 kWh of electricity could be produced per kWp of PV capacity.

Solar PV Costs high: a myth?


Know the truth!

From last last ten odd years the renewable energy has come into forefront. The reasons being several, starting with the famous Kyoto Protocol which brought all the countries on one platform.

This plaform was that of the carbon footprint and it’s aftereffect in form of, “The Global Warming”. This protocol tried to bind everyone by suggesting a guideline in controlling the individual carbon emission levels. Due to large disparity in each country’s per capita energy consumption and source of Power generation, an agreement is yet to be achieved .

Good part is that everyone has become aware of the issues of Global warming and has started thinking of mitigation. The focus has shifted to cleaner and greener energy has. This “Green Energy” is also called as renewable energy since by nature it is available in abundance and is renewable. There are several forms of renewable Energy.

Solar Photovoltaics

(when one uses the energy from sun to generate electricty)

Solar Thermal

(when one uses sun rays to heat water),

Wind Energy

(when the wind generates rotary power thru wind mills which further gets converted into mechanical power or elctrical power.

Wave/Tidal Power

(when the motion of waves converts the energy to elctrical power)

Bio Mass

(when various farms of bio degradable matrial gets converted to generate mechnaical or electrical power)
Of all the above the solar photovoltaics has been in the forfront of discussion and attention. Wind Energy has also not been left far behind by Solar Energy.

Both farms of energy have been recongnised as potent and have been put to use with some good effect. Wind energy has been mostly used for sailing support since ages. The dutch have been using the wind mills for water pumping and power generation. However fossile fuels like coal and oil have been used convetionally to generate power. There are large reserves of fossile fuels in various belts on earth but the rate at which these are being excavated and consumed, these may last only for a limited time.

In all these years “Solar Photo Voltaics (SPV)” was mostly relagated for scientifc research and “Solar Thermal” for heating or cooking purpose. SPV in todays form is not much old. Continued focus in reesearch and development has resulted into better efficiecies and lesser costs of production.


Even then SPV cost is still a bit out of sink as copared to current grid power costs coming from Fossile fues or Hydel (Hydro Electric), but in the span of last ten years the cost of solar power has come down signficantly. In Japan the SPV system cost has came down to one tenth in ten years. So is the case of the remaining world. The reason of reduction in costs is due to better quality cheaper supply of silican wafers due to high production volumes and also due to better efficiencies in manufacturing.

The SPV System costs are now going down much steaper due tp the further improvement of material costs and conversion efficiency. (Typically an amorphous Silican chips yield 5%-8% of conversion efficiency In case of Poly Crystalline Silican chip the value is 10%-14% and the high efficiecy Mono-Crystalline Silican chip yields over 20% of conversion efficieny). Over a period of time there has been a reduction in the wafer thickness from 200 microns to current 140-160 microns. (One micron being 10-6 of a meter). This has reduced the material cost .

In terms of “Price” the oil industry uses price per barrel as its unit of price measurement in case of a “Oil Barrel” , the solar energy industry typically uses price per Watt Peak (Wp) as its primary unit of measurement. The prices for high power band (>125 watts) solar modules has dropped from around $27/Wp in 1982 to around $4/Wp in 2002. Prices higher and lower than this are usually dependent upon the size of the order . As we speak the cost of the Watt Peak has come down to nearly $1.45/ WP.. This cost is expected to go down to about $1.0/ WP.

This opens up a very interesting comparision between SPV as a clean energy vs the conventional Energy derived from Fossile Fuels. The current Grid power (most of which) comes from Fossil fuel burning (be it Oil, Diesel, Coal or Gas) has a much larger Carbon foot print. In order to reduce the Carbon foot print of fossile fuel based technilogy large investments are required and that makes the cost or power high.

Countries such as India which has large reserves of coal still depend upon the coal fired plants due to easy and cheaper availability of coal but we have a big Carbon foot print. The main concern is pumping of large quantities of carbon gases in the atmosphere. In case we try cleaning up this exhaust before letting it out in the atmosphere (like is done in several developed countries), the cost of power generation would go up many fold.

Contact Us for similar projects, or Publishing articles