What we have been writing about in Greenworldinvestor that solar power in India will be the biggest energy opportunity in the 21st century, which has been confirmed by High Court Judges as well. India has been making huge headlines around the world for creating the biggest power blackout as 3 of the country’s grids collapsed as provinces sucked in more power than they were allocated. The damning thing is that one of the power grids had collapsed only one day before and still no corrective action was taken. India’s electricity infrastructure is in a desperate state due to the crazy politics of the country in which free power is given to farmers and theft is allowed by powerful constituencies. Coal mining is a mess and electricity distribution is even worse with state owned distributors having a collective debt of around $80 billion.
Why Solar Energy and India are made for Each Other
India has very high insolation (solar radiation in layman language) which makes solar energy much cheaper to produce solar power in India compared to countries like Germany, Denmark etc. Germany despite receiving only 50% of India’s Solar radiation has more than 14 GW of solar energy capacity already installed.
India has a huge electricity demand supply gap – Large parts of India regularly face blackouts for lack of electricity supply leading to huge monetary losses. It has been estimated that India suffers from more than 15-20% supply shortage in times of peak power. Major cities like Gurgaon regularly face 8-10 hours of power cuts in summer months.
Lack of power grid availability – Solar Energy is ideally suited for providing power to those areas which don’t have power lines connecting it. Large parts of India don’t have electricity grid connectivity and it is cheaper to power them through solar energy rather than extending power lines.
Increasing expensive and unreliable electricity supply - The rates of electricity prices are going up rapidly each year due to a combination of factors like higher costs of fossil fuels, increasing capital expenditure by utilities and privatization of power. Not only is the power expensive, the quality and reliability of the supplied electricity is very poor. A study has found that poor farmers who receive “free electricity” in India are willing to pay for quality electricity supply rather than do with the “unreliable free power”.
Solar Energy approaching Grid Parity – The costs of Solar Energy has been decreasing rapidly over the last 2 years. Despite solar energy prices being higher than other forms of electricity, it is expected that solar energy will equal that of grid prices in the next 5 years in most parts of the globe. Solar Energy is the only form of Energy whose cost trend has been declining over the long term while all other major forms of energy have seen their costs increasing.
Strong Support from the Government – Solar Energy needs a push from the Government in terms of regulation and incentives as it is a costliest form of power currently. The Indian Government through the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission has provided strong support to the growth of this industry. The Government has set a target of 20 GW by 2022 with 1000 MW of solar power to be set up through private investment by 2013. CERC guidelines aims at providing 20% + returns to private investors through a higher guaranteed rate to electricity generate from solar power (FIT).
Solar Energy is a Non-Polluting Green Form of Energy – The biggest advantage for solar energy is that it is a non-Carbon Dioxide emitting form of power. While other fossil fuel forms of Energy have large unaccounted costs in terms of pollution, health hazards, global warming and environmental destruction (BP Oil Spill), Solar along with other forms of Renewable Energy have none of these harmful effects.
So it is no wonder that judges from the Bombay High Court have directed that the courts be powered by solar energy. These days trials take place through video conferencing between courts and jails. However this new technology to ensure cheaper and faster justice is failed as the Government cannot ensure basic electricity supply. When the state of power supply to the courts is in such a bad shape, it can only be imagined what type of power supply the common people get.
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MUMBAI: Solar power is a source of energy for the future, said the Bombay high court on Tuesday while directing the state government to explore using it to provide uninterrupted electricity for mofussil/ district courts and jails.
The suggestion of a division bench of Justice Sharad Bobde and Justice Mridula Bhatkar was made on a petition filed by Jalna principal district judge for giving video-conference facility between courts and jails due to shortage of police escort and uninterrupted power supply.
Advocate S R Nargolkar, appearing for the HC, said the ‘whole exercise’ of video-conferencing will be futile due to electricity disruptions in these courts. “Examine the viability of solar power. It is a source of energy for the future.There is a misconception it does not work in this (rainy) weather,” said Justice Bobde. The judges then issued notices to the state electricity distribution authorities.