How India is Making the Switch from Coal to Solar Utility 

Solar utility spending and construction in India is quickly outpacing coal generation in the region.


Making the switch from -generated utility to and energies is a shift that countries all over the world have been pursuing. , in particular, is showing a lot of promise in this regard. As the second-most populated country in the world, as well as the third-largest region to emit the most greenhouse gases, India is in a unique and critical position when it comes to committing to . Law and policy makers in India have been well aware of the global climate crisis. Through an increase in clean and solar policies, as well as a decrease in the costs of solar panels in the region, India is implementing changes in the solar energy field that are causing the rest of the world to take notice. 

Reduced Coal Generation and Spending in India 

For the third year in a row, solar and renewable energy investments in India have outnumbered the amount of coal-based fuel investments. Additionally, spending on solar energy in the region surpassed coal generation for the first time in 2018. Although coal-generated utility continues to grow in the region, it is not growing nearly as quickly as it once was. The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that coal-utility may decline from around 74 percent of the world’s total electricity that it is today, to about 57 percent by 2040. When more aggressive measures are taken into consideration, the IEA predicts that this reliance on coal utility could be as low as 7 percent by 2040. With more solar panels and solar farms popping up across the country every year, this ambitious prediction may one day become a reality. 

Sameer Kwatra, climate change and energy policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council mentioned that India’s coal generation dropped from around 20 gigawatts of additional capacity per year to around less than 10 percent in just three years. In light of this statistic, Kwatra mentioned that it is now clear that solar and renewable energy utilities just make more sense.  

Solar and Renewable Energy Commitments 

In addition to the solar policies and renewable energy incentives put in place by lawmakers in India, various projects across the region prove that the country and its people are serious about helping the planet. One of the greatest challenges that India will face is upholding this commitment while juggling being one of the number one coal importers in the world. Part of the demand for so much electricity in India is due to the hot weather that makes pumping one’s air conditioning a much higher and immediate priority than attempting to install solar panels.  

However, India is up for the challenge. In 2015, India pledged to install 175 gigawatts of renewable and solar energy capacity in the country by 2022. This particular goal is part of the region’s commitment to the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement is an agreement that unifies various countries around the world willing to invest in long-term solar energy and renewable energy goals that will help positively impact global temperature levels. The agreement also defines certain provisions financially and logistically that help countries make the right decisions about solar utility in ways that are cost-effective and efficient. 

The Future of Solar in India 

Although the switch to solar energy may seem daunting, if a country as large and populous as India can make positive changes in solar panel affordability and construction, so can other countries. The time for negotiating whether or not implanting solar energy is a good idea has long since been over. Countries and regions that are willing to look to solar energy as the solution and take affirmative action to implement solar utilities will come out on top.  

Many of the positive changes that have occurred in the solar energy realm in India have been due, in part, by initiatives taken by the current prime minister Narendra Modi. The solar energy policies he has set in place have ultimately changed India’s focus and boosted interest in clean and solar energy generation. It is possible that any continued or future progress that will be made in the region in terms of solar and renewable energies may depend on the results of the next general election. 



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