Solar Energy is so fundamental to the creation and sustenance of life that there simply would be no life without the daily flows of the sun to the earth. Among solar photovoltaic technologies, there are some devices/ systems such as solar lanterns, solar home systems, solar street lights, solar pumps, solar power packs, roof top SPV systems etc which could be useful both in rural and urban areas for the purpose of reducing burden on conventional fuels.
India is endowed with vast solar energy potential. About 5,000 trillion kWh per year energy is incident over India’s land area with most parts receiving 4-7 kWh per sq. m per day. Hence both technology routes for conversion of solar radiation into heat and electricity, namely, solar thermal and solar photo-voltaic, can effectively be harnessed providing huge scalability for solar energy in India. Solar also provides the ability to generate power on a distributed basis and enables rapid capacity addition with short lead times. Off-grid decentralized and low-temperature applications will be advantageous from a rural electrification perspective and meeting other energy needs for power and heating and cooling in both rural and urban areas. From an energy security perspective, solar is the most secure of all sources, since it is abundantly available. Theoretically, a small fraction of the total incident solar energy (if captured effectively) can meet the entire country’s power requirements. It is also clear that given the large proportion of poor and energy un-served population in the country, every effort needs to be made to exploit the relatively abundant sources of energy available to the country. While, today, domestic coal based power generation is the cheapest electricity source, future scenarios suggest that this could well change.