Clean technology mainly includes recycling, renewable energy (wind power, solar power, biomass, hydropower, biofuels), and many other appliances that are now more energy efficient. The goal of Cleantech is to either reduce or optimize the use of natural resources, whilst simultaneously reducing the negative effect that technology has on the planet and its ecosystems. The term "Cleantech" was coined by Nick Parker and Keith Raab, founders of the Cleantech Group,1 from 2002 onwards to describe clean technologies, especially including solar, biofuels, fuel cells, water remediation, and renewable power generation.

Though the Renewable energy in India as a sector is still underdeveloped, the Government of India has been making conscious efforts to focus on this sector. In 1982, a separate Department of Non- Conventional Energy Sources (DNES) was created in the Ministry of Energy to look after new and renewable energy. A separate Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (MNES) in 1992 was formed and in 2006 a separate Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) was set up.

More recently, in 2019, India has committed to finalising long-term strategies to lower carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by 2020 under the Paris Agreement. In November 2020, India’s Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar stated that “India has practically achieved its pre-2020 #Climate Action targets”.

In line with the above, India has been making a slow but steady shift to renewable energy. In the fiscal year 2019-20, India’s emissions reduced for the first time in four decades. This fall has been attributed partly to the Indian government’s focus on renewable energy as well as due to the lockdown measures taken in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of India’s economic recovery plan post-pandemic, the MNRE has urged state governments to provide incentives to manufacturers who utilise renewable energy in their factories.

Solar and Wind Energy sectors are very active in India. India currently has the largest solar park in the world in Bhadla, Rajasthan. The park is spread over 14,000 acres in Bhadla and has a capacity of overe 2,245 MW.2 India’s Kochin airport is also the first airport in the world to be run entirely on solar power.3 In the early 2000s, more than 16,000 solar home systems have been financed through 2,000 bank branches, particularly in rural areas of South India where the electricity grid does not yet extend The Government of India has also launched Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change. Through this plan it proposed to generate 1,000 MW of power by 2013 and up to 20,000 MW grid-based solar power, 2,000 MW of off-grid solar power and covers 20 million sq meters with collectors by the end of the final phase of the mission in 2022.4 The development of wind power in India has significantly increased in the last few years. With an installed capacity of 37744.16MW (March 2020) of wind energy, Renewable Energy Sources (excluding large Hydro) currently accounts for 23.5% of India’s overall installed power capacity of 370047.97 MW. Wind Energy holds the major portion of 43.4% of total Renewable Energy capacity (87027.65MW) among renewable and continues as the largest supplier of clean energy.5


Indian companies have begun to explore foreign stock exchanges as a source of funds. At the same time, Venture Capitals and Private Equity players have started showing increase in interest in alternative energy companies, especially Solar and Wind energy companies. There is an increase in the Merger and acquisition, Joint Ventures or collaboration activities in recent times due to policies and support from the Government including 100% foreign direct investment under automatic route.

Recently, companies involved in wind, solar, hydro, biofuels and geothermal energy generation, Energy infrastructure, Energy storage, Industrial manufacturing, manufacture of nanotech, bio, chemical and other materials with Cleantech applications, Recycling and Waste, Transportation and waste management are very active.


Cleantech is generally associated with solar, wind and other renewable forms of energy. However, the term is broader than just renewable energy technologies and encompasses any product or service that alleviates harmful environmental impact of other products or processes via energy efficiency improvement, sustainable usage of resources, elimination/purification of waste materials and emissions, and so on.6 This includes recycling, green construction, electric vehicles, lighting etc. An illustrative list of the types of the businesses in the Cleantech sector may be as follows:

  • Environmentally friendly transport
  • Energy generation
  • Energy efficiency
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Waste management
  • Packaging
  • Chemicals


  • Leading Indian companies: Acne Solar, Adani and Greenko, Renew Power, Sembcorp, Azure Power, Tata Power, National Thermal Power Corporation, Avaada Power, Hero Future Energies, Suzlon Energy.
  • Important industry associations: Solar Energy Society of India (SESI), Indian Wind Energy Association, World Institute of Sustainable Energy, Indian Wind Power Association – IWPA, Indian Wind Turbine Manufactures Association - IWTMA
  • Important Government and non-government organizations/Agencies: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy – MNRE, Central Electricity Authority (CEA), State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs), The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency – IREDA, Solar Energy Centre, Centre for Wind Energy Technology- C-WET, Sardar Swaran Singh National Institute of Renewable Energy - SSS NIRE, Alternate Hydro Energy Centre – AHEC, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)


India does not have any specific laws and regulations that govern the renewable energy sector but within various policies relating to electrification some incentives for renewable energy have been given.

The following acts, regulations and policies play an important role.

  • The electricity act 2003
  • The National Electricity Policy 2005
  • The National Tariff Policy (NTP) 2016
  • The National Rural Electrification Policy
  • The National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC)
  • Various state specific regulations and policies


The renewable energy market is fast growing in India and has been getting the attention of not only the Indian Government but also various investors and players. The government of India is also incentivizing this sector by proposing various policies and guidelines. If India's wind, solar, biomass, and hydro energy resources are channelized properly, this sector could bring significant change in the power generation for the country. Though there are government policies and guidelines, specific regulations and laws will assist in bringing more clarity and growth to the sector.

Nishith Desai Associates 2013. All rights reserved.