Lead Story

Sunshine or Sunstroke?

With aggressively low tariffs and the spectre of looming curtailment, the long-term viability of utility-scale solar projects seems uncertain

Image: Azure Power

Bold, audacious, gutsy. Doomed? Call it what you may but India’s plan to ramp up solar energy capacity more than 14-fold in six years – from 6.8 GW as of June 2016 to 100 GW in 2022 - is one of the world’s most ambitious solar programs yet. The target was announced at the G20 summit in November 2015, a few days before the climate summit in Paris. A year before this, the world’s biggest polluters, the US and China, signed a historic pact to cut back emissions. India declined to cut emissions, saying the developed world has had much longer to raise its standard of living by exploiting fossil fuels. However, it agreed to reduce the intensity of its emissions, that is emissions per GDP unit, by increasing its dependence on renewable energy (RE), particularly solar, considering India enjoys about 300 sunny days every year.