Impact Of Coronavirus On India’s Renewable Energy Industry

 

Locked down in our homes, we’re all constantly reminded of the impact that the coronavirus is having on our lives. Not only is it causing sickness and deaths all across the globe but these dark times are crashing the global economies and leaving industries stranded! When we talk about the impact of coronavirus on India’s Renewable Energy Industry, one thing that comes up first is India’s aggressive targets for this sector. Before the pandemic, we were all counting on the government’s push towards shifting electricity consumption from conventional methods like coal to renewable and clean energy like solar to meet  the target of generating 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022.

The problems that the coronavirus pandemic has caused can be summed up in the new buzzword “force majeure” which means “unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract.” As the virus and lockdown situation scales down production, gets employees to work from home, and affects supply-chain, the Indian energy sector faces some both short-term as well as possible longer-term implications that are yet to come true.

Even though India aimed to be an energy-sufficient nation and was making an ambitious shift towards renewable energy, 88% of all solar imports were coming from China. The coronavirus pandemic has made it clear that depending on China or any other country is not viable to build a sustainable energy future for India. The focus needs to shift towards improving our domestic manufacturing scale to establish energy security and reliability. Homegrown solar panel manufacturers such as Patanjali Anant Urja Srot can help India fill the gap to step up as the leading solar exporter for the post-covid world. The pandemic demands the trend to shift towards encouraging Indian solopreneurs through strategic policies and investment. 

 

Another adverse impact of coronavirus on Indian renewable energy industry is the drop in the solar photovoltaic (PV) deployment. According to the International Energy Agency, the solar PV deployment in India will fall by 23% in 2020 as compared to 2019, with the biggest drop expected in PV installations. This is largely due to the 25% decrease in India’s electricity demand, mostly in industrial and commercial segments due to the lockdown scenario. However, as people spend more time at home, there is a greater requirement for residential electricity. So, it is possible and also advisable for individuals to switch to solar energy for their households for a cost-effective and cleaner source of electric power.

While some believe that the pandemic has slowed down India’s transition towards greener energy, other reports suggest that renewable energy sources are proving to be resilient in the Covid-19 crisis, as conventional forms of power such as coal are facing the brunt of travel restrictions. 

 

On the other hand, renewables continued to enjoy being on a  ‘must-run’ status on Indian grids because of zero marginal cost of generation. Even in the pandemic,  solar has continued to generate electric power normally, forcing demand for coal to drop further. Apart from reduced demand, solar beat coal in terms of price as it became cheaper with a tariff of Rs 3.52/units as compared to Rs 4.5/unit.

Yes, the coronavirus is here to change the world and is disrupting businesses but it may pave the way for sustainable choices. This global health energy serves as a reminder to make greener choices for the environment and coming generations and as for the renewable energy industry in India, the world is watching how we turn this negative situation in our favour.