India’s energy demands are rising fast and can’t be met by its limited sources of fossil fuels alone. The country has set an ambitious target of realising 175 GW of installed renewable capacity by 2022, of which it had reached almost 30% by the end of 2016; 50 GW of that came from solar. Solar could play a vital role representing the second largest source of renewable energy with 16% (after biofuels with 62%). Next to the reduced environmental and health damage, and the creation of jobs, the record low Indian solar tariff bids accepted in 2017 are adding to the pros for more renewables. Following the bids, the country might be able to double its solar installs in 2017.
But the switch comes at a cost: Achieving the 175 GW target will require to more than double the annual renewable energy investments worth $42 billion over the period to 2030. It remains to be seen whether India will meet its energy target by 2022.
India will also need to accelerate the transformation of its power system to integrate higher shares of renewables by strengthening transmission grids, reducing grid losses, and in general improving the resilience of the power system by investing in a more flexible system that values demand-response, interconnectors and storage, as well as greater transport and power-sector synergies.