Hydrogen vs. Solar: Which is better in the Indian context?

The world is facing an energy crisis, the supply of conventional resources such as coal, oil, and gas has become unpredictable due to scarcity and rising geopolitical tensions. The demand remains the same and is only increasing. Hence, countries are building their renewable energy capacity. In India’s search for sustainable energy sources, a comparison between hydrogen and solar power seems like an important consideration.

Solar vs Hydrogen

Solar energy seems like a viable source because of the abundant availability of sunlight across India, cost-effectiveness is another factor that acts in favour. Moreover, solar energy’s environmental credentials like no greenhouse emissions add to India’s carbon mitigation efforts. Conversely, the power of hydro energy lies in its ability to be clean energy along with its numerous applications. While the cost of production is high for this, it offers the idea of cost reductions going ahead. This is one of the best uses of hydrogen out there. Although challenges persist due to the cost competitiveness and scalability issues, the opportunities that lie in this are expected to be immensely beneficial.

In India’s Context

With an installed capacity of about 75 GW, India became the 4th largest solar country in the world this year and to leverage this potential, the government has actively been implementing policies to encourage the use in the country. In 2022, the government approved the Performance Linked Initiative (PLI) scheme for high-efficiency solar PV panels which aims to incentivize the sales of produced solar equipment and contribute towards ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. There are several projects in the solar sector like Solar Parks (Bhadla, Charanka, Dholera) and Dual wind turbines, In the hydrogen energy sector, projects like ‘Integrated Hydrogen Hub’ and ‘National Green Hydrogen Mission’ coming up in the category of renewable energy involving investments worth thousands of crores.

Conclusion: In the long run, the choice between hydrogen and solar energy depends on well-evaluated factors like availability of resources, environmental impact, cost-effectiveness, and technology. Solar energy today is considered a dependable and readily available source, however, hydrogen’s potential of being a clean energy carrier can not be undermined, well-crafted energy-related policies along with the usage of these resources can bring about a sustainable change in India.