With the increase in global warming, many countries around the world have made efforts in being more eco-friendly and finding ways to reduce their carbon footprint. This initiative especially highlights the increase in the use of renewable energy worldwide in place of fossil fuel energy.
Government Initiatives for Solar Power in India
The government of India decided that it would combine its initiatives of wanting to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint with its decision to make India self-reliant and independent on its journey to becoming a developed nation. One of the main initiatives in this segment of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat scheme involved the shifting of the focus of solar energy systems in India to India’s local manufacturing plants and companies. The Prime Minister of India has even stated in his speeches why solar power is the future of a self-reliant India.
Solar power is sure as the sun isn’t going anywhere thereby deeming the solar energy we get from it, inexhaustible. He also claims that it is pure as we don’t need to pollute the environment while drawing solar energy from the sun and converting it into electricity for our homes and offices. Last but not least he calls solar energy secure as it is a huge symbol of the Aatmanirbhar Bharatscheme that will enhance the local production and manufacturing of solar energy systems. He also stated that this strategy is important to make sure that electricity reaches all homes across India, especially those living in the rural parts of the country.
This strategy was put into place to ensure that India’s domestic manufacturers of solar equipment, modules, and inverters are safeguarded and see an increase in profits. One of the steps that the government decided to take to further ensure that this happens is the formulation of policies that prune the costs of these solar energy system manufacturers. The government of India also planned to take the BCD to about 40% over the next 2 to 3 years. Thus, this strategy kills two birds with one stone as it benefits India environmentally as well as economically.
Solar Manufacturing Companies Supporting Aatmanirbhar Bharat
The leading solar panel energy system manufacturers in India have decided to extend their support to the government’s plan of attaining a state of Aatmanirbhar Bharat and have also made some demands to make sure that this doesn’t fall through. These solar manufacturers have demanded that the government level the playing field by supporting them like the Chinese government is supporting their solar manufacturers.
They have asked the government to find a way to reduce the Indian interest rates from the current 11%-12% to something similar to the Chinese interest rate of 5%. They have also demanded that the solar panel’s energy sector of India be constructed and built up along the lines of India’s automotive sector such as making it strict that no other country’s company is allowed to sell to an Indian home or company.
They have decided to work with the government to plan out a way to increase the demand for solar panels in India in those states that don’t seem to have found a need for these systems. One of India’s solar manufacturers has started to work out a plan where they will invest about 700Rs to invest in increase the capacity of cells by around 5 times within the next 7-9 months and simultaneously double the number of solar panels in India.
Other Indian solar manufacturers have also decided on ways to exponentially expand the capacities of their cells and also substantially increase the module capacity over the next few months.
Challenges Faced by Solar Energy in Aatmanirbhar Bharat
One of the main challenges faced by the solar energy strategy of the Aatmanirbhar Bharatscheme in today’s day and age is the fact that the onset and increase of the COVID-19 pandemic have hindered the manufacturing and production of local solar power systems.
This slowing down of production and installation has increased the period that was initially thought out for the complete self-reliance of India in the solar panel sector. Another major challenge that has come up due to the current lockdowns is the reduction of the availability of the workforce, their training, and their upskilling in the industry. The deploying and training of a capable workforce was one of the most vital strategies in increase local solar manufacturing across India.
Another one of the challenges India faces on this front is the fact that it is unable to extend more funds to the research and development of localizing solar manufacturing. Currently, India spends only about 2% on research and development whereas more developed countries are spending nearly 7-8% of their budgetary resources for the same. India needs to step it up in this aspect if they desire to speed up its self-reliance in the energy segment.