The solar singularity: 5 ways new technology is devouring the old

#2 India’s solar revolution

When it comes to climate change there aren’t many countries that are more important than India.  Today India is a relatively low emitter - measured at 1.7 metric tons per person in 2010 - which is about 9% of the per capita emissions of the United States and about 22% of that of China.  But with four times the population of the United States any small changes will have a big impact.  Some trends are problematic - coal use, for example, has tripled since 2008 and India is not really making any progress with carbon capture and storage (CCS).  Addressing the issue is complicated due the sheer immensity of its population and its bifurcation - although it has world leading technology companies and centres of innovation one third of the world’s poor live in India.   There is good news, however, to be found in India’s energy strategy around renewables and this approach could be a game-changer for the world.   It’s a plan that makes a lot of sense, not least of which because India has abundant solar resources due is position on the earth's sunny belt.

Traffic light and a solar cell panel in Ladkh, India

India’s new plans around solar came into being with last year’s election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  Executing on the ambitious approach will make India a world leader in solar - putting it in a similar position to China’s planned deployment with 100 GW of deployed technology by 2022 (China hopes to reach that target by 2020).  Considering that China currently has 10 times the amount of deployed solar power as India, this would truly be a monumental Cleanleap.  The key will be funding and the U.S. is supporting the plan in a recent announcement which is good news as there have been issues raised in the past with the WTO around domestic sourcing restrictions.

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