Future of renewable energy: Sunny investment climate for solar technology in India

On May 12, 2017, India recorded its lowest-ever solar tariff of Rs 2.44/unit of electricity. That is a 73% fall since 2010, and compares favourably with India’s cheapest power source–coal, electricity from which now ranges between Rs 3/unit and Rs 5/unit.

The new low solar cost was announced at a reverse auction–in which the role of buyer and seller is reversed and the seller with the lowest bid obtains the business–by the state-owned Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited (SECI) at the Bhadla solar park in north-west Rajasthan. This was mainly possible due to a drop in the cost of solar modules (largely due to technology advances), the prices for which fell 29% in India in the first quarter of 2017 over the previous year.

Renewable energy could generate 49% of electricity in India by 2040 because more efficient batteries–to store electricity when the sun does not shine–will provide flexibility of use and boost the reach of renewables, cutting the cost of solar energy by a further 66% over current costs, according to the Bloomberg New Energy Outlook 2017 report.

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