India, known for its rapid economic growth and substantial manufacturing sector, possesses abundant renewable energy potential through solar, wind, and hydropower resources. Expediting the development of clean energy in India would improve access to affordable and reliable energy and lessen reliance on fossil fuel imports, thereby bolstering energy security amid the ongoing energy crisis. Though India has made commendable progress in enhancing energy efficiency and embracing renewable energy sources, achieving a decarbonized economy and reaching net-zero emissions by 2070 will necessitate a faster deployment of innovative technologies. Offshore wind and green hydrogen emerge as strategic opportunities to support India’s pursuit of clean energy goals. Adopting these technologies in the market would facilitate the transition to clean power generation and low-carbon industrial processes.
Recognizing the vital role of energy in rural development, the Government of India has implemented various initiatives to encourage a transition from fossil-based fuels, like kerosene and coal, to alternative sources. These efforts include offering significant subsidies and establishing extensive rural infrastructure. Additionally, the government has actively worked to improve bio-fuels availability and introduced new renewable energy sources to cater to the energy needs of rural communities.
Renewable energy solutions for rural electrification have certain competitive advantages as follows:
The key strength of renewable energy sources in Rural India are as follows
Factors driving the viability of renewable energy for rural electrification are as follows:
Anticipated future trends:
The major types of renewable energy sources are as follows:
Bioenergy refers to energy obtained by converting biomass feedstocks, which can be utilized directly as fuel or processed into liquids and gases. Biomass feedstocks encompass various materials such as plants and animals, wood, waste, gas, and alcohol fuels.
The selection of the specific bioenergy type and the type of biomass feedstock relies on several factors. These factors include the availability of sustainable feedstock, the economic and technical feasibility of using one technology over another, the presence of skilled personnel to manage the technology, local weather conditions, and establishing a sustainable business structure.
In rural areas, biogas finds diverse applications, including:
Hydropower is a energy source that harnesses the natural water cycle. The categorization of ‘small’ hydro lacks a universally agreed definition, but it is generally considered to be up to 10 MW, although some regions may use higher thresholds. Small hydro can be further divided into mini-hydro (under 1 MW), micro-hydro (less than 100 kW), and pico-hydro (less than 10 kW).
Being a well-established technology, hydropower generation offers reliability and cost-effectiveness in generating renewable power. However, it requires access to flowing water, making it site-specific. Despite this limitation, it is an exceptionally efficient, cost-competitive, and stable solution for electrifying rural areas.
Small wind refers to wind turbines with a capacity rating equal to or below 100 kW. The potential of wind energy experiences significant growth as wind speed increases. A doubling of wind speed results in an eightfold increase in energy content. Therefore, favourable natural conditions are crucial for the success of small wind energy solutions. When these conditions are met, small and medium wind turbines become highly cost-competitive options for off-grid applications in rural regions.
Photovoltaics, or solar cells, are electronic devices designed to convert sunlight into electricity directly. Solar energy is abundantly present globally and is vital in facilitating energy access in rural regions. It serves as a well-established and cost-competitive technology that continuously evolves and improves. Currently, a diverse array of PV cell technologies are available in the market, utilizing various materials and coming in different sizes.
Energy storage refers to technologies that facilitate the retention of energy obtained from a primary source for future utilization. While batteries and other forms of energy storage do not directly provide access to electricity, they play a crucial role in ensuring the dependability of electricity systems by storing surplus energy for use during times of fluctuating production. As a result, they are indispensable for maintaining stability in rural electrification projects that rely on renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.
India’s remarkable accomplishments in Renewable energy sources developments are as follows:
Various renewable energy sector necessitates specific documents according to their needs. Below mentioned are the common documents that are required:
India holds a prominent position in the global energy economy, with energy consumption more than doubling since 2000 due to a rapidly growing population and a period of robust economic growth. Notably, in 2019, near-universal household access to electricity was achieved, providing over 900 million citizens with electrical connections in less than two decades.Looking ahead, India’s ongoing industrialization and urbanization will place substantial demands on its energy sector and policymakers. Despite the significant progress, per capita energy use in India remains well below the global average, and disparities in energy consumption and service quality persist between states and rural and urban areas. Ensuring affordability and reliability of energy supply are crucial priorities for India’s consumers, which must be considered by the service providers. Therefore, it is recommended to take expert consultation to set up any business on renewable energy sources to ensure the business plan, documents and licenses that would be required for setting up the business.
In Indian villages, a prevalent energy source is obtained from burning wood and animal dung, resulting in the formation of biogas.
In rural regions, cooking primarily relies on wood and animal dung as the primary energy sources. These options are easily accessible and cost-effective. However, solar energy is not widely utilized due to the challenges in harnessing it effectively, and coal is not considered cost-efficient for these areas.
Thermal power holds a prominent position as the “primary” power source in India. Various types of thermal power plants utilize different fuels, including coal, gas, diesel, and natural gas, to generate steam. Approximately 71% of India’s electricity consumption is derived from thermal power plants.
As a tropical country, India receives ample sunlight all year round, making it a perfect location for capturing solar energy. The vast open spaces in rural and remote areas offer excellent opportunities for installing solar panels and generating electricity.
Tata Power Solar Systems holds the top position among renewable energy companies in India, primarily focusing on operations within the wind and solar sectors.
At present, biomass fulfils approximately 70% of the fundamental energy requirements in rural areas, supporting nearly 70% of India’s population.
The prevalent energy sources in Indian villages are wood and cow dung, which are burned to produce biogas.
Solar energy, bio-gas and firewood can be used as sources of energy in rural areas.
Common energy source in Indian villages is wood and cow dung, which is burnt to form biogas.
Villagers primarily rely on biomass fuels such as wood, animal dung, and agricultural residues to meet their cooking energy needs. These fuels are often burned using inefficient, traditional cookstoves.