India has boosted its solar electricity target five-fold and now plans to install 100 GW of capacity by 2022, rather than 20.
The new plan calls for 40 GW of rooftop solar and 60 GW in grid-connected projects, and is expected to cost about US$100 billion.
“With this ambitious target, India will become one of the largest green energy producers in the world, surpassing several developed countries,” states a government announcement. “Solar power can contribute to the long term energy security of India, and reduce dependence on fossil fuels that put a strain on foreign reserves and the ecology.”
In 2013, India nearly doubled its total solar capacity by adding 1 GW to the grid. “In the ensuing year and a half, Indian leadership has become more focused on securing financing to ramp up its solar program as part of a stated goal of bringing power to the 400 million Indians currently getting by without it,” Think Progress reports. “The current power deficiencies, combined with the rising costs of fossil fuel-generated power, make solar and other renewables an even more attractive option.”
But “in a sprawling, diverse country of more than 1.2 billion residents, this task is tantamount to a second green revolution, the first being agricultural advances that relieved famine across the subcontinent in the middle of the 20th century.”
Phillips notes that India’s cities “have some of the worst air pollution in the world, and as the public becomes more engaged with these issues the government will be forced to incorporate demand for cleaner and healthier living conditions.” As well, thousands recently died in a severe heat wave, in a country where grid reliability is frequently a serous concern.