Much of 2020 was lost to the lockdown but the environment sector did not remain dormant in India. The solar sector, for example, touched new benchmarks with tariffs plummeting to Rs 1.99 per kWh (or 1 unit of electricity). The coal sector stumbled despite renewed government interest.
The lockdown gave city-dwellers some respite from outdoor air pollution but exposure to indoor pollution–a silent killer–increased. Also, erratic weather and extreme climate events were reported from across the country.
Amidst all this, India diluted several laws that have acted as environmental safeguards during fast-paced economic growth. As the year draws to a close, we take a look at the major events that affected India’s energy, climate and environment policies.
New solar benchmarks
Despite a slowdown in installation caused by the lockdown, solar tariffs in India touched several benchmarks in 2020. In a December 2020 auction, solar tariffs fell to Rs 1.99 per kWh (1 unit of electricity). This is 18% lower than the price of Rs 2.44/unit that India had reached in 2017, kicking off a global solar price race.
The tariff drops have been attributed to several new players entering the market and expectations of further fall in the price of solar modules.