India is setting an ambitious target to create 100 gigawatts of new green energy capacity by 2025, as it gears up for a climate deal to be signed in Paris in December.
The country is already one of the world’s largest solar power generators, and is also poised to overtake China as the world leader in solar power by 2025.
Solar power is becoming cheaper, more widespread and easier to access, says Ajay Kumar, head of solar at the Indian Solar Energy Corporation (ISEC), a joint venture between the state-owned Indian and private companies.
In 2019, solar power accounted for 1.3% of the country’s electricity consumption.
This will rise to 0.7% by 2025 as India continues to develop solar power technology, Kumar says.
India is aiming to create a 100GW of new solar capacity by 2020, with the goal to double that by 2030, the government said in a report released on Wednesday.
It said India has already invested in solar projects worth Rs 4,700 crore ($89 million) and expects to spend Rs 2,600 crore in 2020 alone.
Solar power has increased more than sixfold over the past five years, and has become cheaper than coal and natural gas, said Rajesh Patel, director of the Energy and Climate Change Research Centre at the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), an independent think tank.
India’s Solar Investment Program is a partnership between the government and private sector companies, which aim to invest at least $1 billion ($1.6 billion) in new projects, the CSE said in the report.
India plans to invest $1.4 billion ($3.6 million) in solar in 2020, which is more than double the amount invested in 2010.
It will invest another $500 million ($1 million) by 2021.
India aims to install 10 GW of solar capacity in 2020 and double this by 2025 for a total of 25 GW, the report said.
The government has allocated $600 million ($500 million) to build solar projects across the country in 2020.
Solar electricity is currently cheaper than natural gas and coal, and its penetration is growing faster than coal, the energy minister said at a press conference on Wednesday, adding that the government would work towards providing a stable and affordable solar energy sector for the next decade.
The goal is to have 100GW solar capacity installed in the country by 2030.