World’s Second Most Populous Country Poised for Solar Boom

By Rob Sargent
Senior Director, Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy

We know we can have healthier communities right now and a livable future for kids growing up today. But to get there, we must transform the way we produce and consume energy. That’s got to start with a commitment to 100 percent clean, renewable energy.

Already, India is a renewable energy leader, especially when it comes to solar. It has some of the largest solar projects in the world, and plans to expand to 20 gigawatts (GW) by 2020 and 200 GW by 2050 as part of the “National Solar Mission.” Given recent circumstances, however, they appear poised to go even bigger.

Last month, India’s energy minister announced that solar power had become less expensive than fossil fuels in India. That’s good news, because it allows renewable energy to continue to play a leading role in India’s rapidly growing energy infrastructure. It’s also good news for the world, making it more likely that the second most populous nation in the world will be able to help reduce and avoid climate-altering carbon pollution. 

Photo: Bloomberg

Alongside the dropping price of solar, the World Bank recently pledged $625 million for solar energy projects in India. This influx of capital will allow the nation to make significant progress in its ambitious plans for solar energy consumption and infrastructure, and help the world move toward 100% renewable energy.

Around the world, public support for reducing pollution and shifting to clean energy has made solar investment a sensible choice in helping us confront our energy, economic, and environmental challenges. As a result, international aid has focused increasingly on solar energy, creating a wealth of opportunity for developing nations to capitalize on this clean energy option.  

The decision to move to clean energy is important for India – a country home to over a billion people affected by air and water pollution, and particularly vulnerable to the dangers of climate change, like extreme weather and sea level rise.

Photo: Smog hanging over the city of Mumbai, India

The US can and must lead on renewable energy, starting with a commitment to 100 percent renewable power. But, America’s leadership on renewable energy must extend to assisting developing nations’ efforts to accelerate deployment of renewable energy.