Current Challenges in Diffusion of Solar Power in India

Published date01 March 2021
AuthorSmarak Swain
Date01 March 2021
Subject MatterNote
Current Challenges in
Diffusion of Solar Power
in India
Smarak Swain1
Over the last decade, the cost of producing electricity from solar power has
reduced substantially, yet the usage of solar power has not increased proportion-
ately. This Note analyses the constraints in power transmission and distribution,
including infrastructural constraints and demand-side factors. It goes on to
propose strategies for policy makers to increase the diffusion of solar power.
Energy is the backbone of progress in any country. It is critical for running
industries and households and increasing productivity. Goal 7 of UN Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs) ensures access to ‘affordable, reliable, and sustainable
energy’ for all. The UN acknowledges that this goal is a prerequisite for achieving
other SDGs, such as poverty eradication, industrialisation and mitigating climate
change (United Nations, 2020).
Not surprisingly, energy security remains a matter of priority in both govern-
ance and strategic considerations in India. Major contribution to the electricity
mix in India comes from conventional sources of energy such as coal and gas.
However, there are externalities involved in coal-fired power generation. To add
to it, there are strategic costs of coal-based power. Hence, the focus in India has
been shifting towards renewable sources of power such as wind and solar power.
The major challenge in adoption of solar power about a decade back was
in commercialising it in spite of higher direct costs in comparison to fossil
fuels. This has changed now due to significant reduction in production costs. It
is reported that falling cost of solar production has led to cancellation of few
planned coal projects (Bloomberg, 2017). The solar power tariff in an auction
conducted in 2020 reached an all-time low of `2.36 per unit, lower than the tariff
in many coal projects (Bhaskar, 2020).
Indian Journal of Public
67(1) 126–131, 2021
© 2021 IIPA
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/00195561211008312
1 Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, Singapore.
Corresponding Author:
Smarak Swain, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, 469C Bukit Timah Rd, National University of
Singapore, Singapore 259772.

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