Over the last few years, the use of solar energy has increased considerably in India. While the overall installed solar capacity has increased by 17 times in the last seven years and stood at 47.7 GW as of October 2021, its share in the energy mix is just about 12 per cent, according to Central Energy Authority (CEA) data. This share is likely to increase in the future, considering the steady efforts from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) towards promoting clean energy technologies. However, India’s solar dream needs large amounts of land to flourish, and using such land to set up solar plants involves a conflicting trade-off (that of forgoing alternative land uses, such as for ecological conservation, human habitation, farming, etc.).
The good news is that some technologies on the horizon can help India in attaining its solar targets, without giving rise to any land-related issues. Two such photovoltaic (PV) technologies are floating PV (FPV) and canal top PV (CTPV), which generate power without occupying land.