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LEDS in Practice: Pioneering and scaling up solar energy in India


This case study, from our Subnational Integration Working Group, with the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT) University, Ahmedabad, India, examines the experience of Gujarat state to show how subnational governments can proactively lead and inform national policy and raise national government ambitions for more aggressive greenhouse gas mitigation commitments.

The study finds that Gujarat’s success is due to several enabling factors: a very high solar power potential, availability of wasteland, good connectivity, transmission and distribution infrastructure, and efficient utilities— complemented by a strong political will and an investment.

The study is part of our ‘LEDS in Practice’ series, which shares lessons and best practices on low emission development strategies (LEDS) from around the world.

Key messages

  • For nearly 40 years, Gujarat state has been an innovative leader in low emission development strategies. From small scale technologies such as solar cookers to larger projects including photovoltaic rooftops, solar parks, and canal-top solar power, the state has pioneered renewable energy projects and programs that have later been rolled out to other states and at national level. While remaining within the overall ambit of India’s national policy, Gujarat state has led the nation and other states in solar power policies and initiatives.
  • Gujarat’s 2009 Solar Power policy, the first comprehensive policy for solar energy in India, offered incentives to investors over a 25 year period. The robust policy framework, financing mechanism, and incentives contributed to creating an enabling green investment climate in the state and led to ambitious targets for grid connected solar power being achieved. By 2013, Gujarat had over 50% of the share of solar power capacity in the country.
  • The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, established in 2010, helped to align state and national initiatives and has led to major successes in solar power deployment at both state and national levels.
  • The capacity of grid connected solar power in India has increased from 20 MW in 2010 to over 5,500 MW in 2016.

Download the publication here: Gujarat state – Pioneering and scaling up solar energy in India

Image credit: Anna da Costa/ Mera Gao Power