How to make solar energy cheaper for Indian households
Solar energy is an affordable alternative to fossil fuels, which have the potential to increase global greenhouse gas emissions and cause a global financial crisis, a recent study has found.
However, the report by the US-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) said the costs associated with solar energy could still be too high, making it unaffordable for most people.
The report, published on Thursday in the journal Energy & Environment, said solar energy systems were also not widely adopted in India, a country that needs more than 30 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy capacity to meet its 2020 target of generating 20 per cent of the country’s electricity from renewables.
The Indian government is planning to install solar energy plants at 1,500 megawatts (MW) in 2023, up from the current 500 MW.NREL is a private research and development organisation funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
It was established in 2011 to provide a roadmap for improving the efficiency and affordability of renewable energy technologies, particularly solar and wind.
It also helps companies develop technologies and applications that are environmentally and socially responsible.
In the report, the NREL researchers looked at the energy costs associated to the use of solar power in India from a cost perspective, comparing the cost of solar electricity in India with other countries.
The study found that solar energy was the cheapest energy to use for households in India and was the most affordable renewable energy source in terms of total energy cost.
In a typical year, solar electricity costs between $1 and $3 a watt, and solar power systems cost between $10 and $20 a watt.
In India, the cost for the installation of solar PV systems was less than $10 per watt.
In contrast, solar PV system costs ranged from $30 to $80 per watt in Brazil, India, South Africa and the US.
According to the report: “The price of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in India was about 12 to 15 percent lower than that of other countries.”
In a comparison with Brazil, NREL said that in Brazil PV system cost was only 12 to 14 percent lower, while in India it was 15 to 17 percent lower.
In South Africa, it was only 6 percent lower.
“In India the cost was lower than in China, India’s second largest economy.
It was less expensive than Brazil, where the cost is about 35 percent lower,” the report said.
India’s solar energy system costs are among the lowest in the world, Nrel said, while prices for wind energy systems are higher.