The slow pace of capacity addition in the solar sector has created room for a variety of off-grid solar solutions to grow and provide electricity to those as yet not connected to the power grid, according to a private sector industry leader.
“In solar, there are two parts – one is the government utility projects, and they are going super slow,” Nidhi Modi, executive director, RAL Consumer Products, the largest off-grid solar company in India, said in an interview. “They are targeting 12 GW a year of capacity addition and they are getting 6 GW a year. So they are heavily dependent on the off-grid solar industry.” Off-grid solar is increasingly being viewed as the way to bring sustainable and cheap lighting to the vast segments of India that are yet to be connected to the electricity grid, especially in difficult terrain. “Over 300 million people in India don’t have access to the electricity grid and are living in complete darkness,” Ms. Modi added. These off-grid solar solutions, apart from helping the government meet its renewable energy target, also provide economical savings — both to the government and the consumer.