Post COVID view of Solar in India
The impact of COVID has been immense on the world. It has also shown us how crucial it is for us to start thinking about the environment and protecting the nature around us to restore its balance. During lockdowns around the world, some of the most polluted cities saw cleaner air, better weather and lesser pollution. During that period, nature showed us how we can improve the quality of life, if more attention is given to restoring the much needed balance of nature.
During the recently held 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, India has promised to cut its emissions to net zero by 2070. Net zero, or becoming carbon neutral, means not adding to the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. China has announced plans for carbon neutrality by 2060, while the US and EU aim to hit net zero by 2050. (Source: BBC)
“India is the world’s fourth biggest emitter of carbon dioxide after China, the US and the EU. But its huge population means its emissions per capita are much lower than other major world economies. India emitted 1.9 tonnes of CO2 per head of population in 2019, compared with 15.5 tonnes for the US and 12.5 tonnes for Russia that year. Mr Modi made the pledge as one of five commitments from his country. They include a promise for India to get 50% of its energy from renewable resources by 2030, and by the same year to reduce total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes.” (Source: BBC)
India has set its renewable energy target of 175 GW for 2022, of which 100 GW is to be achieved by solar.
1.Covid impacted solar projects in India causing a delay in their completion due to a halt in receiving the materials required which we are dependent for on imports from countries like China. Hence, one of the trends India will need to see in the coming year post covid, is to first become entirely independent in manufacturing the required components to make solar panels, in order to successfully achieve our set goal.
2.This in turn will see a trend of rise in employment in the solar sector in India. “An annual review 2020 report by IRENA (RE & Jobs) noted that in 2019, the solar Photovoltaic (PV) industry has created 2,04,000 jobs in India and the same is poised to increase in the future.” (Source: Times of India)
3.The various limitations in government policies will also need to undergo changes for achieving our targets, post COVID.
4.Installation and commissioning are labour intensive jobs and are carried out with local labour. As the plants are installed on various outside locations, labours and technicians are always in relocations (Source: SSRN)
5.Compliance to forthcoming personal safety standards and its cost of implementation shall push the cost of solar power system costly, post COVID.
6.Commissioning of new solar and wind power plants have already slowed down this year and will decrease by 10% in the coming year, post COVID.
Investing time, energy and efforts in improving the renewable energy sector, bearing the takeaways from COVID, will help us create more resilient economies in years to come. “Bodenheimer and Leidenberger has already claimed that this COVID pandemic could prove to be a glorious stage of opportunity for the renewable and sustainable energy sector, but achieving that requires strategic planning and designed communications on behalf of the policymakers (Bodenheimer and Leidenberger 2020).”