Is the transition to solar power for electricity in urban India sustainable?

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India’s growth on the world stage has been one of the most promising among developing countries. Despite a myriad of challenges, the country’s urban population has grown at an accelerating rate and the middle class has grown. The onset of global warming, the covid-19 pandemic, and economic restrictions have spawned an “awakened” urban population determined to transform the way we use energy and replace it with green energy sources. India is now among the first three countries in the world to advocate for an accelerated transition to renewable energy. This change is not only propagated by the government, but is also increasingly adopted in the industrial and residential sectors.

India’s energy demand has increased over the years, due to the growth in GDP and population. Despite this growth, there is a huge disparity between the power supply of networks depending on the region to which they belong. The switch to renewable energy sources has proven to be a step in the right direction to tackle this problem. From an ecological perspective, as the demand for industrial goods and a better quality of life increases in urban India, the country’s carbon footprint continues to worsen. In the fight against climate change, India’s optimistic movement towards and in favor of green energy is providing respite for future generations for a healthier and more sustainable ecosystem.

In recent times, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has encouraged people to look beyond their current electricity providers and turn to sustainable sources such as solar power.

As more and more people spend time at home, electricity bills have doubled. For those households that spent an average of 3000-5000 INR in a month on electricity, they started paying 6000-8000 INR per month due to the increase in time spent at home. As awareness of ease of use and access to clean energy sources such as solar power has grown over the past year, many residential complexes and individuals across the national borders are committed to embrace the change. While the initial cost spent on setting up a plant is considerably high, various analyzes have shown that the return on investment is less than four years over the 25-year life of the plant. This shows that this transition is not only beneficial for the environment, but also economically a more sustainable and favorable choice.

Installing solar power plants is now slowly and gradually becoming part of the owner’s plan, which was previously considered a luxury only. It took a long time, but consumers now understand the need to plan for savings on their electricity costs, which are always recurring. With continued pressure from the government to solarize India through subsidies and other benefits, the time is not far behind when having a solar power plant will be mandatory. A few state governments like Haryana have already made it mandatory for C&I consumers and new residents to source electricity using solar energy.

Technology also plays an important role in this regard. Even people not tech-savvy can now monitor the generation and operation of solar power plants through their phones, making them easier to use. Housing companies have the plant installed on their terraces and parking lots; shopping malls, hospitals and schools are already installing as early as possible to reduce their electricity costs. The Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative to support renewable energy production, supported by the Indian government, is a testament that India as a nation is ready for a greener future.

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