On The Sunny Side

Tool helps identify land parcels for RE parks, while the tepid uptake of rooftop solar causes concern

Renewable energy is the game-changing solution to the climate crisis. Leveraging our solar and wind potential to provide a desired quality of life for citizens while transitioning towards cleaner and sustainable energy sources can keep rising greenhouse gas levels and pollution in check. These are two key objectives that are at the heart of India’s ambitious renewable energy targets.

At CSTEP, researchers are using technology-based solutions to support policymakers in making this transition. We developed SiteRight, in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) & Vasudha Foundation, to resolve a significant challenge in quickly scaling up large, utility-scale solar plants: Land.

SiteRight, which uses technical, socio-economic, and biodiversity parameters, identifies the most suitable land for setting up large-scale solar plants and provides this information to policymakers in an interactive user-friendly tool. We presented the tool to policymakers in Karnataka at a recent event and in a fruitful discussion explored ways to further improve the tool to help in the decision-making processes.

Rooftop Solar is an important alternative to large-scale RE parks. It addresses many of its challenges (such as the need for large land parcels). With CSTEP’s Rooftop Evaluation for Solar Tool (CREST), CSTEP has in place an innovative solution to help policymakers leverage the potential of rooftops to generate solar energy. But the tepid growth of this sector is concerning. To get to the root of the problem, CSTEP, along with Council for Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW) and National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI), organised a meeting of developers, think tanks, policymakers, and financial institutions to discuss challenges in an effort to identify opportunities for interventions and solutions.

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