India could be a global leader in solar energy generation by 2035, as it aims to produce around 8 per cent of its total electricity needs. Currently, the costs of installing solar equipment are prohibitively high. A megawatt of solar power requires a capital of about Rs 140 million as against about Rs 70 million for thermal power.
Apart from capital investment on equipment, at least an acre of land is needed to set up a solar unit to generate one megawatt of power. India plans to disburse about Rs 900 billion in subsidies to set up solar power plants, especially for the electrification of remote villages.
US firms such as First Solar Inc and SunPower Corp are among the world’s largest suppliers of solar panels. Apart from many small and medium solar panel producers, two majors, Moser Baer India Ltd and Tata BP Solar India Ltd, a joint venture between Tata Power Co and BP Solar International Inc, are likely to get the lion’s share of orders.