With approximately 300 sunny days per year, India is destined for solar power. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a solar generation target of 100GW by 2022 (40GW of rooftop solar and 60GW of utility-scale projects)—almost a 33-fold increase from India’s capacity in 2015. The states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh are the front runners in this sector. With a view to facilitate large-scale expansion of solar energy in India, the prime minster also launched the International Solar Alliance (ISA) at the COP21 climate summit in Paris. The Indo-German Solar Energy Partnership will play a significant role in supporting the ambitious target for solar energy in India. Under this partnership, concessional loans of one billion euros will be provided over the next five years.
Sunlight is not only a good source of Vitamin D, it is also used for cooking, drying, heating and generating electricity. The sun’s radiation can be harnessed directly through photovoltaic cells or indirectly using solar thermal technologies.
Photovoltaic (PV) cells use semiconductors to produce electricity directly from sunlight. A group of photovoltaic cells is known as a solar panel. PV cells are used to power smaller devices such as watches, calculators and torches, while solar panels are installed on rooftops to generate electricity.
Solar thermal technologies are utilised to collect the sun’s heat. They include passive solar systems for heating (or cooling!) buildings; solar collectors; and solar thermal power plants. Steam is produced at power plants and is then used to generate electricity.
© KfW Photo Archive/ Peter Hilliges
The 125MW solar photovoltaic power plant in Maharashtra’s Dhule district was one of the largest PV plants in India and the world at the time of commissioning. The plant, which has been operational since 2013, is supplying 240,000 households in Maharashtra with clean energy, resulting in the reduction of CO2 emissions equivalent to taking 40,000 cars off the road annually. KfW, Germany’s Development Bank, supported this project in the form of concessional financing on behalf of the German government and also provided technical assistance.
© KfW Photo Archive/ Walter Klotz
The Green Energy Corridors (GEC) project is an integral part of India’s renewable energy plans. Through this project, a “green corridor” or transmission lines and substations will be built to evacuate the power generated by solar, wind, small hydro and biomass projects. Through KfW, GIZ (German Development Agency for Technical Cooperation) has provided loans of 750 million euros for financing the green energy corridors project in Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. This project will allow investors to build more renewable energy plants because transmission capacities will be available.
© GIZ ComSolar Project
GIZ works in a variety of areas; in India, the focus is on energy, environment and sustainable economic development. GIZ’s ComSolar project promotes the commercialisation of solar energy in India in urban and industrial areas. It has demonstrated the successful implementation of solar rooftop PV projects with innovative business models, such as the installation of a 500kW PV system on the roof of one of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s stations and a 400kW solar plant on the roof of the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. Hopefully, these fully functional projects inspire other sports facilities and institutions in India to do the same.