Looking at the Need aspect first- electrical power is a basic requirement for anyone and everyone. Especially for a growing Country like India more power would be needed with increased affordability. Nearly 40% of the household are without power today and the peak deficit is in the range of 12-15%. Let alone power availability many of the rural areas are not even electrified. So then if all the areas are electrified the peak deficit could be a much higher number. So the need for electrical power is certainly there - in semi urban areas which suffer from blackouts / brownouts and rural areas where there is no electrification at all. In fact even some of the Tier-1 cities (except Mumbai) suffer power problems especially during Summers. There is certainly a growing need for power and stable one at that.
[Suggested Read - What you should know before going Solar !]
With regards to Alternative - what exactly is alternative to Solar PV? Wind? Biomass? Hydro? All of them have some or the other issues and that is precisely the reason Solar PV scores above all of the renewable technologies. If one is resistant to changing over from grid power to Solar PV then we suggest that Solar PV is not a replacement for grid but complementing the grid power. With soaring Diesel prices + pollution + maintenance + operational costs people have now realized that DG sets are not a good power option. In fact cost of power generation from Solar PV is much lower than that from DG set. With earlier prediction grid parity for Solar PV was to be achieved by 2015 which is now revised to 2012/13. (To know about Grid parity please check our Solar PV FAQs)
Antagonist of Solar PV also suggest that Solar Energy cannot work without subsidies or Government incentives. Nothing else can be farther from truth. With recent bidding for Solar PV Projects for prices as low as INR 7.0 to INR 7.5 per unit and Grid power at nearly INR 5.0 to INR 6.0 per unit and in some cases even INR 7.0 to INR 8.0 per unit - Solar PV can easily survive without subsidies or incentives. How?
[Suggested Read - Does Energy Audit really Save Energy?]
Consider the following :
- Solar PV is one-time investment and the prices have come down significantly.
- There are nearly zero or no-maintenance cost associated with Solar PV.
- Solar PV critical components have a life of 20-30 years.
- Grid power prices are on the rise with another recently announced another rise of 33%.
- With increased awareness about benefits of Solar PV the demand for PV is expected to rise further resulting in further reduction in PV Project costs.
We also suggest a quick read of our Post on Solar Energy which is about General Information on Solar Energy especially Solar Photo Voltaic its working and suitability for Indian conditions. For basic information you may visit our post on Solar Energy Facts.