Creating A Vibrant Clean Energy Ecosystem In India

Dholakiya is a passionate environmentalist who has a singular vision of harnessing an abundant power source to produce sustainable energy. He is actively involved in several sustainability efforts and undertakes social work in the areas of healthcare, education and natural disasters.

Global Clean-Tech Scenario
The world is aiming to limit the global average temperature rise to 1.5°C. More than 100 nations have made net zero pledges. This has led to an increased focus on clean energy solutions across the globe to reduce car-bon emissions, with investments pouring into countless clean-tech startups. In fact, Larry Fink, CEO of Black Rock, global investment manager and fiduciary, said the next 1000 unicorns will be those "that help the world decarbonize and make the energy transition affordable for all consumers". Of all the renewable energy solutions available, solar is the most stable and scalable. Success of net zero hinges on the success of solar across the world.

India's Policies To Achieve Net Zero Tar-Gets
India being a tropical country has the advantage of surplus solar resource. The geography is such that it allows several regions to receive adequate amount of solar radiation throughout the year. With around 300 sunny days a year, India has the potential to lead the world in solar power, which will be less expensive than the prevailing conventional sources of power, even when paired with battery storage. PM Modi announced that India's target for greenhouse gas emissions to net zero is 2070. However, achieving net zero is not just about reducing greenhouse gas emissions alone. India's energy transition needs to benefit its people. Well thought-out policies can ensure that all three goals of affordability, security and sustainability are all met.

Bearing this in mind, Government of India has come-up with a number of initiatives to position itself as a global leader in usage of solar energy. There are many subsidies and incentives offered which has raised awareness among the end-users of solar power as an alternative source of energy to existing mainstream sources. This has pushed India to the verge of a major shift in our startup environment, with the cleantech startup ecosystem exploding this year. As per the energy minister, the country's renewable energy sector is expected to boom with a likely investment of over $15 billion in 2022 as the government focusses on electric vehicles, green hydrogen, manufacturing of solar equipment. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) reports, new investment made in the clean energy sector in the country stood at $6.2 billion in 2020, $9.3 billion in 2019 and $10.8 billion in 2018.

Challenges To Growth & Solution
Despite all of our efforts, India's solar industry continues to confront a number of obstacles that are impeding our progress toward being a self-sufficient solar powered nation. On closer inspection, the problems are in fact opportunities that will help us move forward. While the possibility of building high-end equipment might be seen as a way to improve quality and efficiency, finding space to build manufacturing facilities remains a barrier, as solar PV systems require a large amount of contiguous land. Implementing new regulations and putting in place relevant frameworks to handle issues such as waste management, resource use, land distribution, investment, and financing might considerably aid in over-coming difficulties and capitalizing on possibilities.

Bearing this in mind, Government of India has come-up with a number of initiatives to position itself as a global leader in usage of solar energy

Despite being the cornerstone of India's energy transition, power distribution companies (Discoms) continue to pose significant challenges. The poor monetary condition doesn't look like will improve in the short-term despite measures to pump in money. Most of them are owned by the state governments. Nearly all renewable energy is purchased by such Discoms, resulting in very long and unjustifiable payment cycles. From a startup perspective, the network of cleantech startups that exists in India today only emerged in a meaningful way within the past few years. Academia, incubators, investors, and the public sector were not on the same page when it came to incentivizing innovation, identifying entrepreneurs, and assisting academics in starting a firm. However, this is changing. India's vast talent pool is now being used to address some of the country's most pressing issues.

In Conclusion
The renewable energy sector can continue to grow significantly and play a key role in India's and the world's ambition in tackling climate change. To mitigate the impact on climate and ensure a safer world for the future, it is high time that India aggressively promotes the practices of clean energy generation and the adoption of renewable energy technologies. The cleantech startup ecosystem in India is still in its infancy. However, rising interest and investment in this space is not only good for the country's energy transition. India has the power to address local pollution and climate change is-sues while promoting economic growth.