Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: India is already the world's third-largest producer of electricity, and will need to increase production—and rely heavily on renewable energy—to achieve the goal of providing 24/7 power for all homes, factories, businesses and agricultural operations within one year.

India is currently the world's third-largest producer of electricity. According to the Central Electricity Authority, the country had an installed capacity of about 346 GW as of Oct. 31, 2018. The contribution of coal to the total energy mix was the highest, at 64 percent, followed by renewables (21 percent), large hydro (13 percent) and nuclear (2 percent).

While wind energy is still the leader amongst renewable technologies, solar power is quickly catching up, and already holds a 7 percent share of total installed capacity. Solar capacity has increased by over 2,500 MW per year over the last four years to approximately 25,000 MW.

The government of India has initiated the “Power for All” program with the objective to provide 24/7 power to all households, factories, commercial businesses and agricultural operations by 2019. Renewable energy will play a big role in achieving this goal.

The National Institute of Solar Energy has assessed the solar power potential of the country as 748GW. Of this potential, the government of India has set a target of installing 100GW of solar power generation by 2022. Currently, India has about 25GW of installed photovoltaic capacity. Of this, over 5GW was just added in the first ten months of 2018. The share of ground-mounted/solar park capacity stands at 90 percent, with rooftop installations contributing 10 percent. Although still in a nascent stage, rooftop solar technology is fast gaining popularity, primarily in urban centers. Off-grid solar power has also been on the increase, and in the first half of 2018, India accounted for 44 percent of global off-grid product sales.

In terms of development activity, Karnataka has emerged as the leader with over 5GW of installed capacity and representing 24 percent of the total solar market activity in the country. Telangana is a distant second at 3.3GW, with Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh tied together in the third spot at 2.3GW each. Meanwhile, the world’s largest solar power park is located in Kamuthi in the state of Tamil Nadu. Spread over 2,500 acres and consisting of 2.5 million solar panels, the park boasts a production capacity of 648MW. The Bhadla Solar Park, which will surpass the Kamuthi installation as the world’s largest solar power park once complete, is being constructed in Rajasthan with a capacity of 2,255 MW and is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

During 2017-18, India imported solar panels and modules worth $3.84 billion. The top 10 Indian solar companies are TATA Power Solar Systems, EMMVEE, Moser Baer, Vikram Solar, Kotak Urja, Icomm Tele, Indosolar, Waaree Solar, Websol Energy System and Photon Energy.

The Indian government allows up to 100 percent FDI under the automatic route for renewable energy generation and distribution projects. Investment in India’s solar power sector surpassed $10 billion in 2017. SoftBank Group has decided to invest between $60 billion and $100 billion in solar power generation in India.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s Solar Cities program intends to develop 60 solar cities. Power generation companies have been exempted from paying income tax for their first decade of operation. Some imported products are exempt from payment of excise duty. For instance, certain components of wind-energy electricity generators and solar photovoltaic ribbons are eligible for full exemptions. Select components for the manufacture of solar modules, solar water heaters, and associated systems are granted complete or partial basic customs duty waivers.

Central and state governments have introduced a number of tax and financial incentives to make India’s solar industry attractive to investors. There is huge investment potential in the Indian solar energy sector, and Wisconsin companies can take advantage of opportunities in exporting solar energy components such as panels, inverters, and batteries.