With coal and other fuels slowly being exhausted in India, the country is facing a tough time trying to meet its power needs. This scarcity could also very well pave the way for the country to become one of the fastest growing solar markets globally. The New York Times has pointed out that India’s coal industry is in shambles due to mismanagement, unplanned policies and environmental concerns. With approximately 80 percent of domestic coal production being controlled by Coal India, which witnesses corruption and short sighted policies, the country sees regular power cuts and rolling black outs.
The rapidly growing coal issue is hampering India’s economic growth as well and this is evident in the 10.2 percent gap between demand and supply of electricity. A year ago, the margin between power demand and supply stood at 7.7 percent, a 2.5 decrease in comparison to the current year’s standings.
Looking at the present situation of the country, solar power could be the only saving grace. The government may need to look at solar power as an alternative for energy production with states like Gujarat already becoming engaged in tapping the sun’s potential. Gujarat has witnessed significant solar power developments in the last year or so and has commissioned 600MW of solar projects in over a year.
Solar manufacturers and project developers in the United States are targeting India as it has the potential to become one of the largest growing solar markets. Around 50 companies have already set up shop in Gujarat alone. One of the more significant companies to build a solar power project in the state is SunEdison, which recently completed a 25 MW plant in Gujarat’s solar park.
In January 2012, the National Solar Mission was announced by the Indian government with the hope of setting up 20 GW of grid connected solar systems besides 2 GW of off grid plants by the year 2022.