Solar Energy Scope in India

Scope of Solar Energy

Solar energy is most secure out of all source of energy and it is abundantly available. Only a small fraction of total incident solar energy can meet the entire country’s power demand

(Incident solar radiation refers to solar radiation falling perpendicular on a surface having an angle of 90 degree to the surface)

  • The sunlight is an energy source. 
  • India has vast sun energy source potential. 
  • Due to sunlight incident over India’s land area, 5,000 trillion kWh per year receives means 4 – 7 kWh per square meter per day.
  • Solar photovoltaic power can effectively be harnessed providing huge scalability in India. 
  • Sunlight also has ability to generate power in distributed basis and rapid addition of total energy through grid connected. 
  • In the rural areas, off grid and low temperature applications meeting demand of power needs and heating. 
  • Solar energy based on decentralized and distributed applications have benefited millions of people in Indian village by cooking, lighting and other small energy needs. 
  • The women of rural areas are now free from collection of fuel wood from long distance, smoky kitchens, minimization of risk of contracting lung and eye ailment.

National Institute of Solar Energy

  • National institute of solar energy has assessed the India’s solar potential of about 7498 GW assuming 3% of the waste land area covered by solar PV modules. 
  • Solar energy has taken place in India’s national action plan on climate change with nation solar mission as one of the key missions. 
  • The national solar mission (NSM) was launched on 11th January, 2010.
  •  The national solar mission is major initiative of government of India with active participation from states to promote ecological sustainable growth.

Objective of National Solar Mission (NSM)

  • To establish India as a global leader in solar energy by creating the policy of solar technology across the country as quickly as possible. 
  • It targets 100 GW grid connected solar power plants by the year 2022. This is India’s intended national determined contributions (NDCs) target to achieve about 40% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources and to reduce the emission intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35% from 2005 level by 2030.

Government of India has launched various schemes to encourage generation of solar power in the country by

  • Solar Park scheme
  • VGF (Viability Gap Funding) scheme
  • CPSU (Central public sector undertaking) scheme
  • Defense scheme
  • Canal bank and canal top scheme
  • Bunding scheme and
  • Grid connected solar roof top scheme

Various policy measures undertaken by trajectory for renewable purchase obligation (RPO) including solar, waiver of interstate transmission system (ISTS) charges and losses for interstate sale of solar and wind power for project to be commissioned up to March 2022. Some of guideline for procurement of solar power through tariff based competitive bidding process, provision of roof top solar, guidelines for development of smart cities, amendment in building laws for mandatory provision of solar roof top for new construction, raising tax free bonds, proving long tenor loans from multilateral agencies etc. are also provided.

Solar Off-grid application as on 31st March, 2021

Solar Energy Applications

MW Capacity

Stand Alone Power Plants (kW)


Home light


Solar lantern


Solar pump


Solar street lighting



Off Grid solar PV Programme

Off-grid solar PV applications programme is one of the oldest programme by the ministry of new and renewable energy to provide solar PV based applications in area where grid power is unreliable or not available.

Off-grid solar applications

  • Solar home lighting systems
  • Solar street lighting
  • Solar power plants
  • Solar pumps
  • Solar lanterns
  • Solar study lamps

The target of national solar mission for off-grid solar applications was 200 MW. Under the Phase I of the mission from 2010-13, a target of 200 MW was kept against 253 MW was sectioned, similarly under the Phase II from 2013-17, target of 500 MW was kept against 713 MW has been sanctioned. Under Phase III of off-grid application, target of 118 MW has been kept excluding solar pump which are installed under PMKUSUM yojana and Solar Home light under SAUBHAGYA scheme

Scope of solar power, national solar mission, off grid solar power applications, solar led street lights, solar pump programme, solar study lamp, solar energy applications, solar energy upsc


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Solar pumps

  • Solar pumps programme was first started by MNRE in the year 1992, in which 11,600 solar pumps were installed in the India from 1992 to 2014.
  • The government of India allocated Rs 400 crore for installation of on lakh solar pumps for irrigation and drinking water in 2014-15. 
  • Solar pumps are important component of solar off-grid programme as it provides reliable irrigation facility in rural/remote areas of the country.
  • Solar photovoltaic water pumping can meet irrigation demand where power scarcity or power fluctuation.
  • Under the solar pump programme, up to 30% of the benchmark cost of the solar pumps is provided as CFA  under this scheme.


  • Solar pumps programme scheme was applicable till 31st march, 2017.
  • The Government of India have recently launched Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha ( PM KUSUM ), aims to install solar pump in off-grid areas and solarize existing grid connected agricultural pumps.

Solar Study Lamps

  • The MNRE implementing a scheme of 70 lakh solar study lamps to provide rural students which provide clean and affordable light. 
  • This scheme is implemented in 5 states

  1. Assam
  2. Bihar
  3. Jharkhand
  4. Odisha
  5. Uttar Pradesh

  • As per census 2011, these states have more than 50% un-electrified house. Houses with 50% kerosene dependent are being covered under this scheme. 
  • Student has to pay only Rs. 100 out of total cost of lamp of about Rs. 450.

Solar LED Street Lights

  • Under Atal Jyoti yojana (AJAY), solar LED street lights in rural, semi-urban and urban areas are being installed in various states in which 75% cost support from MNRE and 25% cost from MPLADs. 
  • The solar street light ensure light in major roads, markets, public conveniences etc. in remote area.


No. of units / Capacity installed

Solar lamps / Lanterns


Solar pumps


Solar street lights


Solar home lighting systems


Solar power plants/ partks

212 MW


Solar Power Off Grid Target


Year & Phase



2010-13 (Phase I)

200 MW

253 MW

2013-17 (Phase II)

500 MW

713 MW

Phase III

118 MW



*In Phase III, solar pumps are installed under PM KUSUM yojana and solar home lights are taken under SAUBHAGYA scheme of ministry of power.

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