Friday, August 3, 2012


When millions of Indians were in the dark, those in remote parts unaccessed by the grid had a different story thanks to solar power. And that's what economist Jeremy Rifkin meant when he said, India is the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy sources and, if properly utilized, India can realize its place in the world as a great power. 'Political will', he said is what holds the key.

Solar panel prices have dropped by over 50% during the past year, and those of the supporting hardware — including cables, connectors, inverters — will continue to drop at a slower rate. Overall, system prices now are practically at “grid parity” — the price per unit of electricity is comparable to the price of coal-based power.

But, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is mostly focused on using solar energy, like any other fuel source, to feed the grid. Solutions that feed power to the grid are important, but they only augment an
over-stressed grid. They do not help the millions without any grid power. Distributed generation, rooftop panels or community grids are ignored.
Clean energy technologies are seeing unprecedented innovations. Bloomberg New Energy Finance studies show the patent growth in this space has accelerated so much that, around 2005, clean energy patents surpassed the patents generated in all other technologies combined. India can be a part of this innovation boom, but for this it is felt that the government must get out of the way. Do you agree? Will political will take the leap? Should the government keep out?

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