In the relentless battle against climate change, solar power is emerging as a pivotal player in India’s sustainable energy strategy. Manjesh Nayak, Co-Founder and CFO of Oorjan Cleantech, sheds light on India’s ambitious plan to triple its renewable energy capacity by 2030, with a primary focus on solar energy. Nayak emphasizes the critical role of solar energy in mitigating the effects of climate change and urges stakeholders to intensify efforts to achieve the ambitious 500 GW target by 2030.
Addressing the Urgency of Global Climate Action
The current global efforts against climate change, while a step in the right direction, may not be as urgent as required. Recent events suggest that the world is teetering on the edge as Mother Nature reacts violently to human irresponsibility. Wildfires, typhoons, floods, heatwaves, and other climate change-induced disasters underscore the heavy toll humanity is paying for years of illicit exploitation and maltreatment of the Earth’s natural resources.
The Culprit: Fossil Fuels and the Need for a Transition
The chief culprit behind environmental degradation is the energy sector, with coal, crude oil, and natural gas contributing over 80% of the world’s energy. These depletable energy sources have powered economies for more than 150 years, causing massive devastation to the ecosystem. Transitioning to cleaner, healthier, and more efficient energy sources has become a necessity, considering the air pollution, water contamination, and ozone layer depletion associated with fossil fuel exploitation.
India’s Focus on Renewable Energy
In India, addressing this issue has become a major focus for the government and development partners in the last decade, despite a heavy reliance on fossil fuels. As of 2021, over 77% of India’s energy needs were met by fossil fuels, primarily coal and oil. However, the vision to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030, aligned with the IEA‘s Net Zero Emissions Target of 2050, aims to increase solar energy generation to at least 32% and wind energy generation to around 12% by 2030.
Solar Power as the Solution to India’s Climate Crisis
The central government has identified solar energy as a top priority in transitioning away from fossil fuels. Over the last five years, solar power in India has intensified, increasing from 1% of the energy mix in 2017 to about 5% in 2022. Recognizing the severity of the rise in average temperatures (0.7°C between 1901 and 2018), solar power is seen as a key element in achieving a healthier renewable energy mix.
Mitigating Climate Change with Solar Energy
Landslides and flash floods in India, such as those witnessed in Himachal Pradesh, highlight the devastating consequences of climate change. Carbon emissions from fossil fuels, especially coal, contribute significantly to these disasters. By reducing reliance on coal power and embracing solar power, India can alleviate the impacts of climate change.
Doubling Down on Solar for Climate Security