Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Nov 21

Future Perspectives for Renewable Energy in India

Posted in Energy Economy | Energy Industry | Energy Politics

Renewable Energy in India India is facing an acute energy scarcity which is hampering its industrial growth and economic progress. Setting up of new power plants is inevitably dependent on import of highly volatile fossil fuels. Thus, it is essential to tackle the energy crisis through judicious utilization of abundant the renewable energy resources, such as biomass energy, solar energy, wind energy and geothermal energy. Apart from augmenting the energy supply, renewable resources will help India in mitigating climate change. India is heavily dependent on fossil fuels for its energy needs. Most of the power generation is carried out by coal and mineral oil-based power plants which contribute heavily to greenhouse gases emission.

The average per capita consumption of energy in India is around 500 W, which is much lower than that of developed countries like USA, Europe, Australia, Japan etc. However, this figure is expected to rise sharply due to high economic growth and rapid industrialization. The consumption of electricity is growing on the worldwide basis. Energy is a necessity and sustainable renewable energy is a vital link in industrialization and development of India. A transition from conventional energy systems to those based on renewable resources is necessary to meet the ever-increasing demand for energy and to address environmental concerns.

A Glance at Renewable Energy Sources in India

Solar Energy

Solar power, a clean renewable resource with zero emission, has got tremendous potential of energy which can be harnessed using a variety of devices. With recent developments, solar energy systems are easily available for industrial and domestic use with the added advantage of minimum maintenance. Solar energy could be made financially viable with government tax incentives and rebates.

An exclusive solar generation system of capacity of 250 to KWh units per month would cost around Rs. 5 Lacs, with present pricing and taxes. Most of the developed countries are switching over to solar energy as one of the prime renewable energy source. The current architectural designs make provision for photovoltaic cells and necessary circuitry while making building plans.

Wind energy

Wind power is one of the most efficient alternative energy sources. There has been good deal of development in wind turbine technology over the last decade with many new companies joining the fray. Wind turbines have become larger, efficiencies and availabilities have improved and wind farm concept has become popular. It could be combined with solar, especially for a total self-sustainability project.

The economics of wind energy is already strong, despite the relative immaturity of the industry. The downward trend in wind energy costs is predicted to continue. As the world market in wind turbines continues to boom, wind turbine prices will continue to fall. India now ranks as a “wind superpower” having a net potential of about 45000 MW only from 13 identified states.

Hydro Electric Power

India has a huge hydro power potential, out of which around 20 % has been realized so far. New hydro projects are facing serious resistance from environmentalists. Resettlement of the displaced people with their lands becomes major issue.

Biomass Energy

Biomass energy can play a major role in reducing India’s reliance on fossil fuels by making use of thermo-chemical conversion technologies. In addition, the increased utilization of biomass-based fuels will be instrumental in safeguarding the environment, creating new job opportunities, sustainable development and health improvements in rural areas. Biomass energy could also aid in modernizing the agricultural economy. A large amount of energy is expended in the cultivation and processing of crops like sugarcane, food grains, vegetables and fruits which can be recovered by utilizing energy-rich residues for energy production. The integration of biomass-fuelled gasifies and coal-fired energy generation would be advantageous in terms of improved flexibility in response to fluctuations in biomass availability with lower investment costs.

Waste-to-energy plants offer two important benefits of environmentally sound waste management and disposal, as well as the generation of clean electric power. Waste-to-energy facilities produce clean, renewable energy through thermochemical, biochemical and physicochemical methods. Moreover, waste-to-energy plants are highly efficient in harnessing the untapped sources of energy from a variety of wastes.

Decentralized Energy Generation in India

Microgeneration, also called “micropower”, is the generation of zero or low-carbon electrical power by individuals, small businesses and communities to meet their own needs. The most widely-used microgeneration technologies include small wind turbines, solar power photovoltaic or biomass conversion systems that have been promoted for decades as alternative sources of renewable energy. Because of technological advances, microgeneration now includes handheld solar and wind-power recharging devices for personal electronics, as well as advanced photovoltaic, biomass and wind-turbine systems for domestic and industrial power generation.

Traditional “megapower” production of electricity is insufficient today because of exponential industrial growth and high living standard. Microgeneration can act as a catalyst for cultural changes in consumer attitude, and provides evidence of the important impact that microgeneration has on consumers’ attitude and behavior regarding energy production and use. Microgeneration is both a serious form of clean energy production and also a cultural movement that is gathering momentum worldwide. Microgeneration technologies include small wind turbines, biomass gasifiers, solar power, micro-hydro, or a combination of these technologies. Prima-facie renewable energy may appear a bit costlier than the conventional source of energy, but looking at the benefit of continuous power availability and great contribution against global warming, it is worth.

Industrialized countries, like USA, Australia, Japan, have formulated action plan to foster sustainable energy to make judicious use of renewable energy resources. For example, USA has announced massive renewable energy program, to generate large share of total energy requirement from renewable energy sources by 2025, which will create 5 million new job opportunities in various areas of Renewable Energy.

Proposed Guidelines for Power Consumers in India

* Explore all possibilities to set-up an independent power plant making use of renewable resources like solar, wind and biomass.
* Use of government / utility electricity supply, only in case of emergency.
* Energy savings by using low wattage / high luminous lamps (CFL / LED).
* Use of power factor improves.
* Regular maintenance and servicing of electrical equipments.
* Avoidance of inverters and large storage batteries (except emergency).
* Intelligent power factor correctors to minimize energy losses in capacitor at lower load conditions.
* Frequent energy audits

Proposed Guidelines for Policy Makers in India

* Vigorous promotion of renewable energy by government agencies, corporate, public sector, academic institutions etc.
* Establishment of national-level body to increase awareness of renewable energy at grass-root level
* Financial support and sponsorship for research and development in renewable energy technologies.
* Ambitious goals and targets for power generation non-conventional sources.
* Installation of solar / wind / biomass power generation systems and energy saving in every government office to encourage and inspire people.
* Restriction on using large battery energy storage systems.
* Compulsory installation of solar water heating systems for all urban residential and commercial establishments.
* Mandatory renewable energy systems provision for new residential, commercial and industrial buildings.
* Attractive incentives and subsidies for installation and successful operation of renewable energy equipment.
* Abolishing duties / taxes on import of small-scale renewable energy generating equipment
* Cultivation of energy crops on marginal and degraded land
* Use of biofuels in vehicles.
* Soft loans for setting up renewable energy enterprises.
* Additional incentives for buyers and manufacturers of renewable energy equipments in rural areas.

Guidelines for Research Professionals

* Development of comprehensive educational and awareness modules for renewable energy systems.
* Development of cost-effective, high-efficiency and long-lasting photovoltaic cells.
* Development of high efficiency wind turbines, ranging from 300 W – 10 kW, to generate energy even at low wind velocity.
* Development of small-scale, low maintenance biomass gasifiers to make use of abundant biomass resources in rural areas for cogeneration


There is an urgent need for transition from petroleum-based energy systems to one based on renewable resources to decrease reliance on depleting reserves of fossil fuels and to mitigate climate change. In addition, renewable energy has the potential to create many employment opportunities at all levels, especially in rural areas. An emphasis on presenting the real picture of massive renewable energy potential, it would be possible to attract foreign investments to herald a Green Energy Revolution in India.

Author: Ravi Soparkar

Electrical Engineer from Mumbai. 40 + years experience in engineering business. Working on micro-generation feasibility in renewable energy for past five years. Participated in numerous national and international conferences and workshops all over the world. Presently associated as senior consultant with Super Consultants Inc from Maryland USA

  • M.R.Menon

    Dear Mr. Soparkar:

    I congratulate you for writing an elegant, informative and interesting article on renewable energy choices.

    I invite you to follow the link:

    and let me have your views/comments on my article.

    With best regards


  • Salman

    Great article, Mr. Soparkar. Many congratulations to you. I am eagerly waiting to read more article of yours.

  • Tim

    Thanks for the fantastic, comprehensive article!

    All these the energy options are very possible, but I still believe we should use ones that have the least effect on the environment.

    While grain biofuels are possible, they require large tracts of farmland to grow the sugar cane, corn, coconuts, etc, which could be better used for feeding the hungry. Furthermore, the expansion of farms encroaches on the natural wildlife, etc.

    The only biofuel that is 100% green is that made from animal and human waste. Facilities can be set up right on sewerage farms, so that once all the waste has been used to make fuel, it can then be treated.

  • Priya Mahata

    Great job Mr. Soparkar! You have explained the difficult concept of “Renewable Energy” in simple language. Congratulations for being on the forefront of this much needed world-wide initiative.

  • Paul M

    Mr. Ravi Soparkar,

    Thank you for a comprehensive article on Renewable Energy, especially as it applies to India. I hope more people sees the world as you do where renewable energy becomes the primary energy source. Congratulations for your outstanding efforts to promote renewable energy.

  • Ravi Soparkar

    Dear Readers,

    I thank you and appreciate for your comments on my article. Today our country India is facing acute energy shortage, resulting in power shading from 4 to 10 hours every day at different places. We are suffering heavy production losses and unemployment. This is an attempt to accelerate momentum on Renewable Energy.

    Political will and available technologies in ‘Renewable Energy’
    can help us to

    1. Overcome Energy Crisis forever

    2. Employment possibility for over 10 million people in India.
    (mostly in suburban and rural area)

    3. Withstand global economic recession.

    4. Resulting rise in overall productivity, making India a prosperous and powerful nation.

    I welcome your comments and suggestions.


    Ravi Soparkar
    Soparkar House, 36/2 Kondhwa Budruk, Pune, 411048, India
    +91 20 26934300, +91 9325014999

  • M.R.Menon

    Dear Mr. Soparkar:

    Why the renewable energy sources are not progressing well in our country? The reasons are:

    (1) The manufacturers and service providers are keen to grab the tax payers money through subsidies, large amount of loans with lowest interest rates, free land (later on they sell it to the real estate mafias), not providing any service-after-sales;

    (2) The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy never keeps the public informed about the real benefits the public can get by going for renewable energy installations;

    (3) The sops and benefits are not passed to the public who have installed renewable energy equipments with their own money or through bank loan (banks give only 70% of the amount on a 5% per annum interest charges spread into 5 years i.e. 60 installments);

    (4) There are under cutting and unhealthy competitions among the manufacturers;

    (5) The manufacturers don’t spend any amount towards advertisement and publicity outside their states;

    (6) Except V-Gaurd, no mfrs. is advertising the renewable energy equipments through the television media;

    (7) Wind Energy producers are the biggest scamsters in not only grabbing the land and selling it at premium rates but also enjoy all the perks the government is giving them but it never goes to the common man

    (8) The State nodal agencies are eye-sore and they don’t promote the renewable energy at all;

    (9) We need an assocition of renewable energy manufacturers and service providers to raise voice in the Parliament;

    (10) There should be a uniformed price for solar lantern….if people buy it by paying a low price, the lantern will work only for a short time….and a common man can not afford to buy a solar lantern by paying Rs.3,500/-. Why can’t the government make it a practice to supply solar lanterns at a nominal charge to people in the villages like we get the gas cylinders;

    (11) From a line man to the staff in the electricity board or substations earn extra money by fiddling with the power supply. If most of the public begin to use renewable energy sources, the electricity department people will lose their extra income. So, these people try all the tricks to discourage the growth of renewable energy sources in the country;

    (12) Another lobby working against the promotion of renewable energy sources in the country, is the electrical items manufacturers….

    (13) The Government could not make it strict and statutory to use the solar water heating at homes, hospitals, hotels, educational and technical institutions. They just announce new rules and regulations but fail to implement them.

    (14) The carbon credit business encourages people to produce more pollution and earn out of it.

    There are too many obstacles…..the recent one is the rock bottom price of the crude oil…..and the international lobby encouraging the use of coal or atoms to produce electricity…

    Sun O’ Sun, though you are hot, without you the world will rot!!

    Ramanathan Menon

  • Shekhar Joshi

    Good article to understand Renewable energy concept.
    Wish you good luck.

    Shekhar Joshi
    New Delhi India

  • S. Bandopadhyay

    Dear Mr. Soparkar,

    I appreciate your views and suggestions for power consumers, government and research professionals. Renewable energy have potential to improve economy of our country. Kindly do keep writing on Renewable Energy.

    Subroto Bandopadyay
    Kolkata, India

  • Frank Hill

    Dear Sir,
    I would like to offer you or anyone in your country our product. We have a unit in operation in the United States, that can produce electricity at a profit from any bio waste. The secret to our unit is size and the ability to quickly process bio waste, plant or animal. It is one tenth the size of bio digesters in use. We can design a unit or units to fit almost any need large or small. Our goal is to produce electricity at a rate much lower than your retail cost as well as a end product that can be used to fertilize crops. This can be done from human or animal waste, or from crop waste. We can also process waste generated by bio diesel plants. Please contact Frank Hill for more information ; 917-477-5812 fhill2[AT]
    Thank You

  • Ramanathan Menon

    Dear Frank:

    Can you send me your proposal about the small waste-to-electricity that you are talking to my email: ? Thanks.

    Ramanathan Menon

  • Sidhraj Shah

    Mr Soparkar

    As a company manufacturing High powered LED Lighting systems ranging up to 1000 w equivalent Lamps and 40 w Tube Lights, currently the only Company in the country, we appreciate your article & simplicity with which you have addressed the on-going issues. Most importantly a guideline addressing to all interesting in Renewable Energy.

    Mr Ramanathan, the points you have addressed to large extent are true, but do not hold against all manufacturers.
    – Our entire investment model is based on passing complete Govt. subsidies & depreciation to the customer. We cater to Industrial and Commercial clients only. We offer ROI within 2 years on conventional power and 3 years on Solar.
    – Large scale advertising can only be possible once companies can assure the quality of the products. Most Indian manufacturers import & sell Chinese products targeting home and retail segment. These products are not completely reliable.

    We completely agree to your point of CleanTech companies are fighting a struggling battle with raising finance to scale the business, the least is from PSU Banks and Financial Institutions.

    We are Mumbai based company with our office in Andheri (W). Please do pay us a visit. It will be an immense pleasure meeting you gentlemen, Mr. Soparkar and Mr. Ramanathan.

    Warm regards


    ps: Please visit our website from more…

  • Ramanathan Menon

    Dear All:

    Dr. A. Jagadeesh is a prominent solar energy promoter in India. Like me, he too has many frustrating stories to tell you as to how far the MNRE and the State nodal agencies who are supposed to promote new and renewable energy choices in the country are smart enough IN NOT COOPERATING with anybody who likes to promote the clean energy in the country.

    Either the key officials are in a meeting (24X7) or their subordinates will tell you that they have no funds. But visit any of the conferences and seminars in the country, you will see how much is spent on champagne and 5-star buffet and how much food stuff is thrown into the waste bin when thousands of people go hungry without even having a single meal.From where the hell so much of money has come all of a sudden?

    The bureaucrats and the elite scientists only talk, eat and merry while individuals like me and Dr.A. Jagadeesh or Mr. Soparkar remain as a frustrated and disappointed lot.

    Ramanathan Menon

  • joshua

    why don’t we make systems for personal use to start with and then go up to the stage where you need to interact with insensitive and gluttonous beaureaucrats and politicians?

  • Ravi Soparkar

    Dear Sidhraj & Ramanathan,

    Many thanks for sharing views.

    Do inform me ur tel nos and email ids so we can communicate closely.


    Ravi Soparkar
    renewableenergy at

  • Pruthvey Koushik k

    Respected Sir,
    This was as insightful article about the use of renewable energy resources. I am preparing a presentation on the prospects, challenges and viability of creating wind farms without tax incentives in India for a B-school interview. Could you please provide me with more information regarding the same ? Also any other useful links on the net would be helpful.

  • Pruthvey Koushik k

    As a follow-up my email ID is pruthvey12[AT]

  • B.S.Murty

    Dear Mr. Soparkar,

    My hearty congratulations to you on a very informative and stimulating article. Pl. pursue the path and lead the movement. To most readers and respondents of the article, I assure that there is no cause for frustration. The simple reason is we depend upon the Government for everything in life! Quite a lot can be done to improve our Energy Supplies and better the present scenario by a cooperative effort with confidence. With a lot of well-meaning people around,let us work out ways of doing it and arriving at solutions to overcome the hurdles. It can be done. I am working on it and shall be delighted to interact in the direction of ENERGY EFFICIENCY.

    e-mail: bsmurty2008[AT]

  • Ravi Soparkar

    Dear Mr. Murthy,

    Thanks for putting up facts. There is enough awareness on renewable energy all over. I would be happy if my article initiates brain storming at consumers, policy makers and research professionals levels.

    Do write

    Ravi Sopakar
    renewableenergy at

  • Arun Bhandari

    Dear Mr.Ravi Sir,

    As I was reading your article word-by-word and the readers comment, I am greatly acknowledged and feel the voice of intellectuals to the degree of urgency towards enacting renewable policies in India. Sir, your article is yet another eye opening effort for industrial leaders, students, researchers and politician; of course if politician know what the article is all about!
    I have also felt deep concern in the comments mentioned by Mr. Ramanathan Menon and articles by Dr. A. Jagadeesh. India is in dark harsh realities with crippling support for its infrastructural need and energy demand further worsen due to the global recession, slow down export growth, rise and fall of real estate, companies chasing for their profits, loss of jobs and services..etc. There are lot of issues and problems of 5000 year old civilization to talk about and we will never get rid of it!

    In India,one key concern would be regarding the underdeveloped Institutional reforms in R & D capabilities in every sector. Just an example, if I compare the number of research or patent working in any given institution, in India and their real time value after successful implementation with that of foreign technical institutions, like here in Netherlands, working on industrial financed prototype technologies where chances of success is always high; think dreaming “India superpower” is a even unacceptable metaphor all together! Sir, your point towards strategy for comprehensive educational awareness and dicentralized model are good measures that common government and todays private sector can think off.

    Energy is always needed by all, its nature to get consumed in any form makes it valuable commodity in the market. Efforts to generate Renewable Energy source in India is very limited (2-5%) despite its unrecognized potential by utility companies. We need Private Entrepreneurial policy to promote the ideas and work for it. Policy need not be meant as legislated by Government but rather driven by private sector or efforts by me or people sharing the views here. We desperately needs clean technology, carefully draft, evolved and evaluated with ideal market strategy. We know what we suppose to do, but we wont, unless somebody start doing!

    We are still neo-liberal and classical in our approaches and believe that market economy has moderate role to play in catering burgeoning sectors of growth and population of India, that’s irony! therefore better solutions and good quality life hard to come by. As far as the private sectors are concerned, they are not insulated from external pressure of US OR EU, thus get recessed with the globalization. Our best friend US, when sneezes whole whole world gets cold!! And I am sure, with the President Obama encouraging sustainable and clean technologies to create jobs and high end services; I wont surprise, Indian corporation start following the same copying the policy and technology pathway!

  • salaka singh

    The concept of alternative sourses of energy have been described in an interesting and detailed manner. This article has helped in the making of my school project.


  • Triveni

    A plant that can produce energy and fertilizer from biowaste is very relevant to India which has a huge biobase. Processing of biowaste can help India meet two of its greatest challenges, energy scarcity and inadequate sanitation facilities. Starting from metros, all towns and villages need to invest in management of their biowaste.

  • Dharmakirti Wakankar

    Dear Mr. Soparkar,

    Thanks for sharing you knowledge on the sector. There are a whole lot of people out there who realize the need for alternative energy and its potential to address problems like energy sufficiency, global warming and creating sustainable livelihoods among many others.

    I am eager to learn more on this and will write to you on email.

    Best regards,


  • Rajkumar didwania

    Hello Sirji,
    I am interested in setting up a solar energy project in india to manufacture and maintain solar cells. can you please suggest me some companies or people or govt. organisations who would like to get involved in this project.

  • Sidharth


    The article was really informative and there is a dire need for all of us to support and spread awareness about renewable energy.

    I request all of you to show your support to renewable energy, take my survey and get your voice heard.


  • Solarant

    I totally agree with the point that there is an urgent need for transition from petroleum-based energy systems to renewable resources. Using Alternative energy sources in a potential manner could be the best solution.

  • F.W.Jesudas

    A School in Tamilnadu at Kodaikanal called Sholai boarding school has achieved a first in that they use no energy from the grid. They produce the required for the entire boarding school from Sun, Water and Biomass.

    If other schools and colleges adopt the same green strategy then our future generations will have no hesitance in using green energy. The current generation only says green energy for others and when it comes to themselves they want to burn as much fossil fuels as possible and they could afford. The present generation should learn from children.

  • Ravi Soparkar

    We must appreciate and duplicate renewable energy activities to set an example ourselves.

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