Support from the World Bank for large-scale and rooftop solar deployments, innovative and hybrid technologies, and storage and transmission lines presents an opportunity for India to go the German way and achieve energiewende, or energy transition. For instance, the $625-million grid-connected rooftop solar fund could help strengthen State-level programmes for net metering. A transparent regime that enables individuals and communities to plug into the grid without bureaucratic hurdles would unlock small-scale private investment. There are several pointers from Germany’s experience as a leading solar- and wind-powered nation to prepare for a major ramping up of these green sources. Arguably, the strength and reliability of a power grid capable of handling more power than is available are fundamental to induct higher levels of renewable power. The emphasis here must also be on improving transmission lines: the World Bank programme promises to provide the necessary linkage to solar-rich States. Making power grids intelligent to analyse and give priority to use the output of renewables, accurately forecast the weather to plan next day generation, and viability mechanisms for conventional coal-based plants are other aspects that need attention. Innovation in battery technology is a potential gold mine for the solar alliance and for India to exploit.
Keywords: solar energy programme, World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, International Solar Alliance