Solar energy is clean, but it can become cleaner

Published onMarch 5, 2021

Sunlight is looked upon as the cleanest source of energy, which can be easily harvested. So much so that Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to the extent of saying at the recently held World Solar Technology Summit that India can exceed its renewable energy (mainly solar and wind) targets, going beyond 175 GW to reach 220 GW capacity by 2022. The Prime Minister’s optimism is guided by the spurt in solar energy capacity built up over the years, which has given hope that we may finally wean away from coal-based energy – responsible for most of the world’s CO2 emissions. But as we proceed on our solar sojourn, we need to understand how clean and green solar energy really is. Or to put it this way: Can this energy become cleaner than what it appears right now?