Solar Sector: What’s New?

We are likely to outperform our energy targets, and the world is looking at us as a coveted solar investment destination

by Mr. Sanjeev Aggarwal, Managing Director & CEO – Amplus Solar

It is established by now why the world needs to #GoSolar. However, one can’t approach this transition unilaterally. The relationship between the growth of green energy consumption and its economic footprint needs to be well-coordinated to drive a natural and sustainable impact. Therefore, efficiency and accuracy in product development, operational excellence, and asset management, packaged in a cohesive policy framework, will define the road ahead for faster adoption of Solar as the smartest choice of energy. In this aspect, it would be appropriate to say that the entire energy ecosystem looks forward to tech advancements and the digitalization of Solar PV energy in 2022 and beyond.

India has already proven itself as the leader in its innovation-led solar transition. We are likely to outperform our energy targets, and the world is looking at us as a coveted solar investment destination. In a comfortable yet competitive situation like this, the country must look at gaining another edge over the rest of the world by identifying befitting tech solutions that cater to the rising demand, geographical, social, infrastructural, and institutional challenges, and the climate-specific need for solar transition. Moreover, with digitalization, companies will be able to control costs better while offering cheaper and more relevant services to the customers.

Digitalization is already improving energy systems’ safety, productivity, accessibility, and sustainability. For reference, at Amplus Solar, we have already developed our in-house state-of-the-art monitoring system, Hawk-Ai, that helps us track each of our 400+ solar projects remotely and monitor the performance of every plant. In the future, the industry might also be able to identify who needs energy when and deliver it at the right time, in the right place and at the lowest cost. In addition, advances in data, analytics and connectivity will continue to enable a range of new digital applications such as smart appliances, shared mobility, and 3D printing, making energy systems more connected, intelligent, efficient, reliable, and sustainable.

Product enhancement of Solar PV modules is another tech advancement that will foster solar adoption across segments. The market is opening to innovative technologies like NanoQB – a disruptive technology that increases the efficiency of a solar PV module by over 15%! It helps solar cells absorb and utilize more sunlight. NanoQB is already working on >1 MW in India and Japan. The government of India must push for broader and quicker adoption of this technology, for it not only helps the end consumer but also helps the energy developer reduce the LCOA by 15%.

Looking at its use context, the appetite for solar is increasing in the urban setups. While more than 73 million households in remote areas of the world get electricity from sources such as solar lanterns, solar home systems (SHSs) that can power several devices, and local solar-based microgrids, the sought expansion of solar energy at a mass scale will keep pushing the product manufacturers to innovate. Beyond the rise in adoption of rooftop solar, we also look forward to Portable Solar Panels – small-sized solar panels that are easy to install can be carried anywhere and

can generate up to 320W of power, based on their size. In an era where mobility has been redefined, it is futuristic to align the idea of portable clean energy with movement.

Another leap is expected in cutting down dependency on land with heightened use of floating solar panels. The innovation works best for a country like India which has space constraints but high energy demand. Installation and maintenance of floating solar panels are easy and safe, while they offer the benefit of a significant reduction in evaporation from the water surface. The next generation of floating solar panels are bound to make an important contribution to the clean energy revolution.

Beyond Digitalisation, which is clearly paramount to a successful clean energy transition, a good energy mix will remain the focus for the government and the manufacturers. The government is considering bringing in a policy to restrict adding new coal-fired plants. Gas will continue to be an option to provide firming capacity for intermittent renewables and Hydrogen will dominate the remaining decarbonisation journey.

Solar PV could cover a quarter of global electricity needs by mid-century, becoming the second-largest generation source after wind. Reports suggest that the global capacity of Solar PV might reach 18 times the current levels or more than 8 000 gigawatts by 2050 and Asia would continue to dominate solar PV use, with over 50% of installed capacity.

It is a fast-evolving industry and mobilising finance will be key. With innovations along the entire value chain driving further, aimed at rapid cost reductions, the future of solar is bright.