Incredible growth of Indian solar industry has made the country a major solar player, estimated to become the third biggest solar market worldwide by FY 17-18. Indian solar industry has shown 145% growth in 2016 over the previous year. And it is estimated to add 8-10 GW solar capacity in FY 17-18, displaying nearly 90% year-over-year rise.
The country currently has ~13 GW of solar capacity with 14 GW under construction and 6 GW to be auctioned. Government initiatives have supported growth showing intent towards solarising the country. However, our energy goals are not just about rapid solarizing but protecting and realizing the central premise of changing the socio-economic scenario within the country (which can only be brought by domestic manufacturing and claiming export market). As Indian solar industry is still at a nascent stage, and lack the sophisticated infrastructure, policy frame work, awareness, and global competitiveness (which China, US have), it is fair to say that India needs support in demand creation, innovation, and growth to give its solar industry a leg up and to realize the energy goals in all of their entirety.
The true potential of Indian solar industry, which can bring unprecedented infrastructural development, create jobs, claim export market, reduce forex outflow, remains unrealized. It is apparent that continuous solarisation (through imports) will not help India to become the solar leader, which the country aspires to be. Indian solar industry needs to transform itself through technological evolution, creation of bigger market demand, domestic capacity enhancement and positioning itself in the export market. And all of that requires the right push and a bigger platform.
The Platform: ISA
ISA stands as the perfect opportunity for faster innovation, cost reduction, quality improvement, demand creation, and mass production of solar components in India. Systematically utilizing existing capacities, investing in R&D, becoming globally competitive, and bringing energy security (within country), while claiming export market. Leading solar countries have taken similar measures and now they control the global solar supply chain, aiding their infrastructural, economic, and social betterment.
Now, with ISA, the opportunity is here for India and other developing nations to lead the energy revolution from the forefront.
What ISA Brings to The Table
The increase in solar adoption of the years is much more than ‘growth’ and in all fairness it is apt to call it a revolution. Now, revolution cannot happen in isolation, it requires collaboration, mutual understanding, agreement. That is exactly what ISA brings to the table. Through this platform, India and other developing countries will have the opportunity to devise a setting for collaboration. 121 countries (members of the ISA) pulling their resources, technology, and finances would easily develop a much favourable environment for solar in developing countries.
Financial Support: ISA is estimated to bring $1 trillion investment for solar growth for its member countries. This financial support pairing with the implementation of tried and tested best policy framework (from successful scenarios) will help in encouraging solar manufacturing and implementation within India.
R&D Support: Innovation is the only key to reach global competitiveness, control prices of solar, and improve the solar industry. Cross country collaboration through ISA can help the India and other developing countries in finding the best support for innovation. Making way for cost reduction, quality improvement, and mass production of solar components. Technological exchange within the 121 member countries of ISA will make path to innovation clear and easier.
Access to Untapped Markets: Demand creation has to be consistent in order to help India in claiming the export markets, kicking back profits to initiate socio-economic transformation. ISA ratification can help India in accessing the virtually untapped 121 markets. Allowing the opportunity and creating the urge for capacity utilization, and capacity enhancement. Demand creation will also improve India’s position in the solar export market, bringing financial gain, reducing forex outflow, and creating jobs.
Job Creation: Solar industry has created 416,000 jobs in India in 2015 and 1,017,800 jobs are expected be created within 2022. And with ISA support, the numbers will increase tenfold, creating skill set and solving employment problem (currently 17.8 million unemployed).
The facts practically highlight the possibility of socio-economic improvement through ISA.
The concept and aspirations for growth is rather mundane when we are discussing about the solar industry. The opportunities, the choices, and the results this sector presents are phenomenal. And India has made efforts to win its position in the solar sector through aggressive initiatives and decisions. One of such a decision is heading ISA. It is now time for India and the developing world to truly realize their energy goals, on their pathway to economic progress.
Share your thoughts with me on this at @gyaneshc.