As the world’s second-most populous country and a growing global power, India would do well to think about its energy future, and it seems to be doing just that – according to a report by Bridge to India, the country is aiming to install 33.4 GW of solar power nationwide. That’s much more than the 20 GW previously targeted by India’s National Solar Mission.

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To put that in perspective, China, the world’s largest energy consumer, is aiming to have a capacity of 50 GW by 2020. This is to ease its dependency on nuclear energy in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster and also to meet the goal of having 15% of all energy come from renewable resources by the end of the decade. Meanwhile the Desertec Project is planned to generate 100GW of solar energy which is estimated to power most of Europe.

India is currently aiming to have 14.15 GW of solar capacity by 2018, by which time putting solar energy onto the national grid will be much more established and easier. It would also make the market more competitive, not to mention decreasing the country’s emissions.

The Bridge to India report does state that there isn’t currently  enough government support for small or off-grid solar power applications. This is not surprising considering how dependent India is on fossil fuels and the general reluctance of developed countries to fully embrace the benefits of alternative energy. However, industry insiders believe that with the increased production of PV cells globally and the possibility of cheap imports from China, solar costs will drop by 40% in the next three years.

This will allow India to address one of its major problems – getting energy to those that don’t currently have it. Speaking to Clean TechnicaKadampat Punnan Philip, manager of the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA), said: “40 percent of the population do not have access to the grid. Even the villages connected to the grid can benefit from solar power because the Indian grid is so unreliable.”

+ Bridge to India

Photo Credit: Abbie Trayler-Smith for DFID and hiyori13