Solar atlas for India published - a milestone for global climate change mitigation

Person standing at speaker's desk, five people sitting at a table next to it.

Mr. Tarun Kapoor Joint Secretary from Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) opening the launch. Photo: GIZ / Indradip Mitra

Whether for photovoltaic systems or solar thermal energy plants, solar radiation data are the crucial foundation for making the right investment decision. India, the world's second most populous country, can now draw on precise data for determining locations and calculating the yield of energy projects thanks to Germany's support. With the Indian Solar Radiation Atlas, which was recently presented for the first time to the public, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment is supporting the Indian Government's goal of expanding solar energy capacity to 100 GW by 2022. This will also make a significant contribution to fulfilling India's strategy for fighting climate change. BMUB's partner is the country's Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).

The Indian solar atlas is the first interactive database of this large emerging economy for collecting data on solar radiation. Data is fed into the atlas from satellites and from one of the largest national networks for precision solar radiation measurement in the world. Within three years, solar radiation monitoring stations have been installed at over 120 locations across all the Indian states. The stations measure global, direct and diffuse radiation, thereby providing reliable information on the best locations for building solar power plants.

Project developers, policy-makers and financial institutions use this data to learn about the cost-effectiveness of specific locations. The improved framework for planning and implementing solar projects will directly contribute to decarbonising the Indian energy sector and to achieving the internationally agreed 2-degree target in the fight against global warming. Along with improved air quality, the use of renewable energies means less dependence on fossil fuels that previously had to be imported on a large scale.

The Indian solar atlas was supported through the International Climate Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment in the framework of the Solar Mapping and Monitoring (SolMap) project. It was implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and is part of the Indian-German Energy Programme (IGEN).

The solar atlas is also part of the International Renewable Energy Agency's Global Atlas initiative and will serve as a key component for mapping global potential of renewable energies. In June 2015, the atlas is being unveiled to an international expert audience in Munich in the framework of Intersolar Europe, the leading international trade fair for the solar industry.