Asia Minute: Solar Power’s Indian Inroads

Jul 26, 2017

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Solar power is at the heart of Hawai‘i’s continuing evolution to increased use of renewable energy. While the economics of solar are still in transition here, they are making faster progress in some other places. And right now, that includes parts of India. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Within two years, solar will be cheaper than power from the grid for the majority of households in India.

That word comes this week from the CEO of Sun Source Energy—which according to the Economic Times has designed and built solar projects across 18 Indian states.

Sun Source clearly has a business interest in talking up the solar story, but other information confirms the growth of the sector in India.

Indian Railways recently launched solar panels on trains. They’re not pulling the cars, but they are powering lights and fans inside the passenger coaches – usually done by diesel generators.

Kyodo News reports Japanese companies are also starting new initiatives with solar power in India.

A subsidiary of Hitachi is specializing in rooftop solar distribution for companies—targeting India-based Japanese companies—mostly in manufacturing.

Kyodo also quotes a report from an energy consultant called “Bridge to India” which says the country’s rooftop solar energy market has nearly doubled each of the past four years.

Still, the vast power needs of India are not a total success story for renewable energy – at least not yet.

According to data from the World Bank, more than 70 percent of India’s electricity still comes from coal.