India, a rapidly growing economy with more than 1 billion people, is facing a huge energy demand. has tremendous scope of generating solar energy. The geographical location of the country stands to its benefit for generating solar energy. The reason being India is a tropical country and it receives solar radiation almost throughout the year, which amounts to 3,000 hours of sunshine. This is equal to more than 5,000 trillion kWh. Almost all parts of India receive 4-7 kWh of solar radiation per sq metres. This is equivalent to 2,300–3,200 sunshine hours per year. States like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, and West Bengal have great potential for tapping solar energy due to their location. Since majority of the population lives in rural areas, there is much scope for solar energy being promoted in these areas. Use of solar energy can reduce the use of firewood and dung cakes by rural household.
The solar industry's structure will rapidly evolve as solar reaches grid parity with conventional power. Solar will be seen more as a viable energy source, not just as an alternative to the renewable sources but also to a significant proportion of conventional grid power. The testing and refinement of off-grid and rooftop solar models in the seed phase will help lead to the explosive growth of this segment in the growth phase. Global prices for photovoltaic (PV) modules are dropping, reducing the overall cost of generating solar power. In India, this led to a steep decline in the winning bids for JNNSM projects. With average prices of 15 to 17 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), solar costs in India are already among the world's lowest. Grid parity will be an inflection point, leading to two major shifts in the solar market. First, thanks to favourable project economics, grid-connected capacity will rise at a much faster rate than before, and second, regulations and policy measures will be refined to promote off-grid generation.
Lower solar costs combined with rising prices of grid power will convince off-takers (including distribution companies, private firms using open access, and firms putting up their own captive capacity) that solar power is economically viable. This shift will signal the start of the growth phase, during which grid-connected solar capacity will rise rapidly as developers build capacity to meet both RPO requirements and demand from off-takers seeking cost-efficient alternatives to conventional power.
India is slowly gaining its prominence in the generation of solar power due to the comprehensive and ambitious state and the Centre’s solar policies and projects and National Solar Mission. In the 2014 budget, Finance Minister Jaitley declared that the Government has proposed an amount of 500 crore rupees to develop some mega solar power plants in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, and Ladakh. He also said that solar power-driven agricultural water pumping stations and 1 MW solar parks on canal banks will be developed in the country at an estimated cost of $74 million and $18.5 million, respectively. Considering all these facts, we do have a bright picture in front of us as India’s potential to be a solar power driven country of the world.