by Ari Phillips, June 17, 2015
On Wednesday, India approved increasing the country’s solar target five times to a goal of reaching 100 gigawatts, up from 20 GW, by 2022.
The new solar capacity will be nearly split between residential and large-scale solar projects, with some 40 GW expected to be generated from rooftop installations and the remaining 60 GW coming from larger, grid-connected projects, such as solar farms.
In a sprawling, diverse country of more than 1.2 billion residents, this task is tantamount to a second green revolution, the first being agricultural advances that relieved famine across the subcontinent in the middle of the 20th century.
Indian cities also have some of the worst air pollution in the world, and as the public becomes more engaged with these issues the government will be forced to incorporate demand for cleaner and healthier living conditions. The country has also recently been rocked by a prolonged heat wave, a tragedy that cost thousands of lives. This type of incident will become exacerbated by climate change.
According to the latest announcement, achieving the 100 GW target will require around 600,000 crore, or approximately $100 billion.
Bringing India to the forefront of the solar power revolution will require international assistance, but it will also require local cooperation. In Wednesday’s announcement, the Prime Minister’s Office asks local ministries to contribute by identifying land and buildings that could be used for solar; helping develop green energy transmission corridors; setting up sites for domestic production of PV materials; and making rooftop solar mandatory on certain building projects, among other things.