Why Solar Can Outcast Coal Energy
India’s energy policy has always been heavily reliant upon coal right from its very beginning. Ever since the late nineteenth century when the phenomenon of power generation on mass scale took shape, coal has always been the major source of energy production. Currently, coal fulfils more than 44% of the total energy needs of this country by contributing around 200 GW energy to the national pool.
Nevertheless, the reason behind our heavy reliance on coal is simply due to its abundance. Indian soil has the world’s third largest coal reserve which is around 12% of the world’s total coal reserve. In the year 2018-19, India’s coal production figure touched the record margin of 730 million tonnes. Out of these 730 million tonnes, around 90% was extracted by open cast mining.
But in the last one decade, India’s energy has overseen a drastic tectonic shift. The recent policies have been chiefly directed towards focusing more on renewable energy sources rather than fossil ones. That’s the reason why we have seen sharp upward movement in the growth graph of solar energy. Currently, India is capable of 31, 696 MW units of solar power. The production figure that was used even less than 2000 MWs has today crossed the mark of 30,000 and is estimated to cross the mark of even 1,00,000 MWs in the next five years.
These progressions have also started laying foundations for new possibilities. In these new possibilities, we are likely to see precise dominance of solar energy over thermal energy. However, sustainability is just one factor among those many factors why solar energy emerged as an alternative to coal-based energy. Apart from sustainability, other factors are:-
The smoke generated by Coal Energy Power Plants is extremely dangerous to human health.
- Cost Effectiveness: The solar form of energy is far more pocket friendly than coal based energy. And the gross benefit of cost effectiveness is not just restricted to the producer but is equally beneficial for the consumer too. In fact, the installation of a solar power unit does not necessarily require acres or hectares of land or bulk investment but can rather be done with in just a few 100 square feet of area and by investing just a few thousand rupees.
- Low cost maintenance: The maintenance of a solar power producing unit is as simple as its installation. On the one side where even a small sized coal based energy production plants require a lot of manpower and machinery while the operation of a solar power unit demands just handful people. Also it is way too less hazardous than coal based energy production plant.
- Abundance: Unlike coal, sunlight is available in abundant quantity. Although we do have the world’s third-largest coal reserve, it is likely to reach the point of saturation in the future. However, as far as sunlight is concerned, it is available in almost infinite quantity and investing in it would continue to benefit for the next many centuries.
- Growth potential: The growth potential of solar energy is far greater than coal energy. Since coal is being excessively used for energy production for more than the past two centuries, it is bound to reach an impregnation point sooner or later. Whereas the solar energy arena is yet to be explored. Thus there is still a lot of potential for growth and innovation.