Solar Energy – JNNSM, Solar Cities, Solar Pumps, etc.

India is now Third-Largest Producer of Solar Power


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Global Rankings; Trends of solar energy production;

Mains level: Factors contributed to India becoming the third-largest producer of solar power in 2023.

Why in the News? 

In 2023, India overtook Japan to become the world’s third-highest producer of solar power, according to a report by the International Energy Analytics Agency Ember.

Global Solar Energy Production:

  • The leading producer of solar power in the world is China which produced 584 BU of solar power in 2024 – more than the next four countries combined (the United States, Japan, Germany and India).
  • India generated 113 billion units (BU) of solar power in 2023 compared to Japan’s 110 BU.
    • The installed solar energy capacity has increased by 30 times in the last 9 years and stands at 81.81 GW as of Mar 2024.
    • India’s solar energy potential is estimated to be 748 GWp as estimated by National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE).
  • Power demand in Japan decreased by 2% (2 BU) in 2023 after rising in 2021 and 2022, thus allowing India to overtake Japan.

Other factors to make India the third-largest Solar power producer in 2023:

  • Government Initiatives: India has implemented various policies and initiatives to promote renewable energy, particularly solar power.
    • The government launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) in 2010, aiming to promote the development and use of solar energy in the country.
    • Subsequently, various state-level policies and incentives were introduced to encourage solar power generation.
    • For example Gujarat Solar Energy Policy (Target is 36 GW of solar energy by 2036).
  • Investment and Financing: There has been significant investment in the solar power sector in India, both from domestic and international sources.
    • For example PM Surya Ghar, Muft Bijli Yojana, the scheme is projected to entail an investment of ₹75,000 crore.
  • Favorable Geography: India has abundant sunlight throughout the year, making it well-suited for solar power generation. About 5,000 trillion kWh per year of energy is incident over India’s land area with most parts receiving 4-7 kWh per sqm/day.
  • Increasing Energy Demand: India’s growing population and economy have led to a rising demand for energy. Electricity demand in India rose 7% in 2023 and is likely to average growth of 6% a year through 2026 on higher economic activity, according to the International Energy Agency.
  • International Collaboration: India has collaborated with various countries and international organizations to leverage expertise, technology transfer, and funding for solar projects. For example  International Solar Alliance (ISA).

Way Forward:

  • Invest in High-Efficiency Panels: Choose solar panels with high-efficiency cells, such as monocrystalline photovoltaic cells, which can convert a greater percentage of sunlight into usable electricity
  • Use Energy Storage Solutions: Consider integrating energy storage systems, such as batteries, to store excess energy generated during the day and use it at night or during periods of low sunlight, thereby increasing the overall efficiency of the solar energy system.

Mains PYQ: 

Q Describe the benefits of deriving electric energy from sunlight in contrast to the conventional energy generation. What are the initiatives offered by our government for this purpose? (UPSC IAS/2020)

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