India is endowed with vast solar energy potential. About 5,000 trillion kWh per year energy is incident over India’s land area with most parts receiving 4-7 kWh per sq. m per day. Hence both technology routes for conversion of solar radiation into heat and electricity, namely, solar thermal and solar photovoltaics, can effectively be harnessed providing huge scalability for solar in India. Solar also provides the ability to generate power on a distributed basis and enables rapid capacity addition with short lead times. Off-grid decentralized and low-temperature applications will be advantageous from a rural electrification perspective and meeting other energy needs for power and heating and cooling in both rural and urban areas. From an energy security perspective, solar is the most secure of all sources, since it is abundantly available. Theoretically, a small fraction of the total incident solar energy (if captured effectively) can meet the entire country’s power requirements. It is also clear that given the large proportion of poor and energy un-served population in the country, every effort needs to be made to exploit the relatively abundant sources of energy available to the country. While, today, domestic coal based power generation is the cheapest electricity source, future scenarios suggest that this could well change.
The promotion of RTS in the State is aligned to India’s global pledge of reducing GHG emissions and meeting at least 40% of its total electricity requirement from renewable energy and other low-carbon sources by the year 2030. Achievement of the 2,100MW target will contribute a 26.39 million tonnes reduction in the CO2 gas emissions. Further, this initiative is expected to result in the creation of some 69,300 full time equivalent employment opportunities in the State, many of which will be in the ‘green’ employment sector.
The development of RTS will have a positive bearing on the transmission and distribution losses of supply companies, as power generated from RTS can be consumed locally. An additional benefit envisaged for distribution utilities would be a reduction in the amount energy that they would need to procure; reduced by the equivalent of the power generated through RTS.