• India presents Economic Survey 2018-19 has recommended the Indian Parliament $330 billion additional investment on renewable energy plants till 2030
  • This comprises $80 billion to be invested up to 2022 and then $250 billion till 2023-30
  • The country’s Union Budget for 2019-20 has allocated INR 30.05 billion ($440 million) for grid connected and off-grid solar according to Mercom India Research
  • Down to Earth magazine rues the fact that rooftop solar has been left out of the budget, and also there has been no reduction of GST for solar projects or no mention of availability of adequate and cheap credit

India could be looking at investing $330 billion in total for renewable energy plants through 2030. Around $80 billion would be invested until 2022, the bulk, $250 billion would be used in the period 2023-2030. This estimate does not include transmission lines. This is one of the key recommendations by the Indian Ministry of Finance that tabled the Economic Survey 2018-19 in the Indian Parliament on July 4, 2019.

The Economic Survey is an annual exercise that is presented by the Ministry of Finance a day before the Union Budget is presented before the Parliament. Calling renewable energy sources a strategic national resource, the Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman said that an annual investment opportunity for over $30 billion for renewable energy is expected to come up for the next decade and beyond.

India’s renewable energy capacity, excluding hydro power by March 31, 2019, was 78 GW of which solar contributed over 28 GW (see India Installed Only 6.5 GW Solar In FY 2018-19). In the country’s total energy mix, renewables accounted for 10% in FY 2018-19.

Another 27 GW renewable energy capacity is currently under installation and more than 38 GW in the bidding process. Despite this growth of renewables, the Economic Survey believes fossil fuel-based energy is likely to continue to be an important source of power. The Economic Survey 2018-19 can be viewed on the website of Ministry of Finance.

As for the Union Budget 2019-20, the ministry has allocated

  • INR 30.05 billion ($440 million) for grid connected and off-grid solar,
  • INR 9.20 billion ($130 million) for wind power and
  • INR 5 billion ($73 million) for the so-called green energy corridor to enable smooth integration of renewable energy into the conventional power stations in the grid.

While sharing these statistics, Mercom India Research called the budget promising for the non-conventional energy sector of India. Nonetheless, research and advocacy organization Centre for Science and Research’s Down To Earth Magazine pointed out the absence of any mention of  rooftop solar for which the official target is 40 GW but only around 1.9 GW has been installed so far.

The renewable energy industry expected the budget to provide some impetus to revive growth given the slowdown in the past year. The sector expected reduction of GST for solar projects and availability of adequate and cheap credit. However, there is nothing specific in the Budget to address these concerns,” commented Down to Earth.

The budget considers solar PV cells and lithium storage batteries, solar electric charging infrastructure among others as parts of its Sunrise and Advanced Technology areas. The government will launch a scheme to invite global companies through competitive bidding to set up mega manufacturing plants in these areas. These companies would also be eligible for income tax exemptions under Section 35D of the Income Tax Act.