A Brief Look Solar PV in India

This post will focus specifically on India’s current rate of energy consumption and the actors focused on utilizing solar PV in India. The next post will focus more on the changes these actors recently made to the energy sector and how that will effect India in the long run. 

Currently India is perhaps the best country suited for solar PV implementation based solely on geographic location. 

This resource is overwhelming, yet currently India is using less and 1% of this energy potential. Up until very recently, India has had major difficulties attempting to overcome government policies. Another major setback the India faces with solar PV is land-use. Currently India ranks high on the population scale and although their economy is beginning to boom, it can be hard to convince people to invest their land into a energy source that until recently was very expensive. Solar power through India’s perspective seemed a unlikely possibility.

Of course dealing with the government policies is solar PV biggest obstacle to overcome. According to a article by Barbara Harriss-White, Sunali Rohra, and Nigel Singh, “In India, energy was nationalised before and during the Emergency in the 1970s. It is a state responsibility under the more or less formal direction of the central government. Like agriculture, energy is a “policy theme” scattered throughout many state bodies, and organised differently in different states. Each state also has a range of public corporations and development agencies concerned with energy and/or with renewable energy, though state electricity boards have no interests in off-grid technology. As in agriculture, direct participation is inextricably entangled with those of parametric regulation. The political architecture of solar energy has formidable coordination costs.” Some of the major actors in this advocacy campaign are, Clinton Global Initiative and The Energy and Resources Institute’s (TERI) campaign with Tata BP. These groups work tirelessly to use information politics and leverage politics to help promote the purchase of and use of solar technology in India. TERI specifically used information politics in order to enlighten India on the growing problem of climate change and its environmental affects, “TERI is paradigmatic, headed by the Nobel Laureate, Rajendra Pachauri. TERI evolved from being a Tata-funded institute to a multi-sourced one. Working with 800 staff on ‘every aspect of sustainable development’, it produced some 218 publications in 2007-08 of which four were explicitly on solar energy.”

These actors and many more like them have actually made substantial headway in the solar PV industry in India. The next post will focus on what changes were made and how these actors got the government involved in the progress. So in other words, to be continued….

For more information on the solar PV campaign in India please refer to the following sources:

http://www.smithschool.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Barbara-India-solar-paper1.pdf

http://www.ecoworld.com/products/electronics/indias-solar-power.html

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About rspv

I'm a first year student in the MSGA program at New York University. I'm considering focusing on the Energy and the Environment sector. I have a BA in East Asian Lang. & Lit. with a concentration in Mandarin Chinese.
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One Response to A Brief Look Solar PV in India

  1. Lauren B. says:

    The transition to utilizing clean renewable energy is a daunting task for many countries but necessary to combat climate change and reducing the harmful affects produced by fossil fuels, like air pollution. Noting from the map above, India seems like it has great potential to transition to using solar PV. But why is the government so resistant to using solar PV power? Could it be that because India is still a growing developing country that maybe using solar PV isn’t as efficient or cost effective to rapidly industrialize? Maybe the environment is not on India’s agenda but it should be because politics, economics and the environment are all intertwined, as you mentioned in a previous post.

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