From Rajasthan to Kerala, India dreams of solar power


Indian manufacturers are betting big on solar power. The two richest men in the country, Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani, are investing heavily. The last big announcement dates back to March 3, when Mukesh Ambani pledged to develop capacity of 10 gigawatts (GW) in the state of Andhra Pradesh (South). India already ranks fifth in the world, with an installed solar capacity of over 60 GW.

A series of megaprojects but also small units have been deployed in recent years. The huge Bhadla solar park in the Rajasthan desert is considered the largest in the world with more than 10 million solar panels covering 5,700 hectares and offering a total capacity of 2.25 GW. India has already given the go-ahead for the construction of more than 50 solar farms across the country. In Kerala, Cochin airport can also boast since 2015 of being the first to be operated entirely using solar energy. At the same time, the government is also betting on decentralized projects by encouraging individuals to use roofs to connect them to networks.

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The South Asian giant has set ambitious targets for renewable energy. Third emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, on the way to becoming the most populous country on the planet, it hopes to achieve carbon neutrality in 2070. To achieve this, India wants to install a capacity of 500 GW of renewable energy. by 2030. Today, 42% of installed capacity is renewable, but around 70% of India’s electricity continues to be generated from coal-fired power plants.

Decrease dependence on China

“From a capacity of 2 GW of renewables in 2014, we have grown to 100 GW in less than ten years, which is considerable progress”, Judge Swati Dsouza, energy specialist at the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. And, even if India does not achieve its objectives, “thanks to these ambitions, a clear signal has been sent to the business world and has helped to drive a trajectory”, says the analyst.

The government relies on the private sector and puts in place financial incentives. More than a dozen companies, including the conglomerate of Mukesh Ambani, Reliance Industries and Tata Power, responded on March 3 to a call for tenders to benefit from 2.24 billion euros in government subsidies. in order to manufacture solar panels and thus reduce dependence on China. The objective is to satisfy national needs and to be able to export them.

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