In India, solar power is now cheaper than diesel which is prompting the largest mobile phone company, BHARTI to switch to solar for powering some rural cell towers. Also the world’s biggest mango-puree producer, Jaine Irrigation is building an 8.5 megawatt solar power plant.
The world’s second most populous country is using reverse auctions where the lowest bidder wins the power contract, to drive down solar prices. Their second auction took place in December and resulted in 28 new solar power plants being awarded to the lowest bidding company. This reverse auction system forces companies to compete on cost, and is part of the national plan to achieve 20,000 megawatts of solar power by 2022. The year 2025 is when India has been predicted to become the world’s most populous country, so development of clean energy sources for over one billion people is a very significant trend for reducing climate change and air pollution.
Air pollution in some parts of India is at unhealthy levels, and research conducted there found, “… severe levels of air pollution are leading to high incidence of respiratory diseases, cancer, and heart diseases. Major economic costs are associated with the health impacts of poor air quality.” (Source: Wind Arch) High levels of diesel emissions were also found to have an association with a greater risk of heart disease, in a separate study.
So switching to solar power is not only about reducing climate change emissions and protecting the environment, it is also can improve human health. If solar power can be used there to fuel electric cars, air pollution would be reduced further.
Image Credit: Eirik Refsdal