The government, as per CEA data, has set a target of generating 1,229.4 billion units in 2017-18 from thermal, hydro and nuclear sources. In a thermal power development, nearly half of the country’s thermal power plants—are over 25 years old and a large number of them are fast approaching 40, which is considered the end of their useful life span. Experts opine that generation capabilities of a thermal plant reduce by about 40% after 25 years. In this regard, Power Minister Piyush Goyal said that companies should focus on replacement of old plants with energyefficient technologies and on a separate occasion said that as much as 39,710 MW capacity based on supercritical technology has already been added and 48,060 MW of super-critical power generation is in the pipeline. About the RE sector, the minister tweeted that India has crossed 10,000 MW of solar capacity - an over three times increase in less than three years. As per ministry estimates, another 8.8 GW capacity is likely to be added in 2017. The global price of solar modules (which make up nearly 60% of a solar project’s total cost) may fall by as much as one-fifth this year say analysts, which will lend impetus to Indian producers of solar power and increase the financial viability of projects. Similarly, realising that 27 per cent pumps account for agricultural applications, the govt has formulated many policies and solar pumps have started assuming significance on a large scale in the last few years. Some analysts opined that along with policy changes, incentives and mandatory regulations would prove to be beneficial for this crucial segment.
In terms of roof-top solar, a big driver would be the falling prices of battery storage systems due to continuous innovation and the rising scale of production. Since storage is also an important part of electric vehicles (EVs), there may be a surge in their use – which will be in line with the govt’s plan for six million electric and hybrid vehicles on Indian roads by 2020. This shift will also be in keeping with our COP 21 commitment and is significant in view of India’s energy import bill of around $150 billion, which is expected to reach $300 billion by 2030. A connected trend of smart solar systems has been forecast by analysts in the near future - to make optimum use of available energy with real-time monitoring and communication. This market is expected to grow around USD 16 billion till 2018, which it is hoped, will reduce CO2 emissions by 15% globally. In summary, all these burgeoning solar developments - if properly implemented - will usher in a Golden period for the power sector.