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The SiteRight tool can help select locations for solar and wind projects that can help meet India’s renewable energy goals while avoiding adverse impacts to environment and people.

Wind turbines stand behind solar panels in a landscape.
Renewable Energy India aims to install 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030 © Creative Commons

Rapid deployment of renewable energy (RE) sources, particularly solar and the wind is critical for India to meet its rising energy demand while mitigating climate change. At the last climate summit in Glasgow (COP26), Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced enhanced climate targets for India, including increasing its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 GW and meeting 50 percent of its energy requirements through renewable energy by 2030. Along with these commitments, India announced its intention to achieve net zero by 2070. Of the committed RE target by 2030, wind and solar alone are expected to contribute 420 GW. As of September 2022, India’s installed renewable energy capacity stands at ~ 161 GW.

Without careful planning, given the large land footprint projected to meet renewables energy targets—typically three to 12 times that of coal-powered energy generation—can adversely impact people and biodiversity, creating land conflicts that will jeopardize investments and slow RE expansion.

study conducted by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Center for Study of Science, Technology, and Policy (CSTEP) shows that India can meet its renewable energy target of 175 GW by 2022 by more than 10 times by placing RE infrastructure on lower impact lands. However, if maximizing energy production is the singular aim for RE projects, more than 11,900 km2 of forest and 55,700 km2 of agricultural land could be impacted. Further, the retrospective analysis conducted by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Microsoft revealed that approximately 68% of existing solar projects in India are sited on agricultural land and approximately 7% of projects on natural ecosystems, highlighting the potential impacts of renewable energy projects to biodiversity, community livelihoods, and future food security if not planned responsibly.

SiteRight (2:18) Renewable energy growth in India is setting the pace for the world. See how SiteRight, The Nature Conservancy's new, open access web tool, will help accelerate a clean and green future in the region while helping people and nature thrive.

RE projects need to be sited responsibly and smartly to avoid land conflicts, associated project delays, higher risks, and costs. The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Vasudha Foundation (VF), Center for Science, Technology, and Policy (CSTEP), and Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) have collaborated to create a tool—SiteRight—to support decision makers make better siting choice

The SiteRight tool identifies areas where solar and wind development is less likely to encounter socio-ecological conflicts, thereby helping to reduce project delays and cost overruns.

SiteRight uses the best available information to support early screening and inform siting decisions. It should be one of the sources of information to be considered when taking siting decisions. The tool is NOT intended to replace the need for a site-level assessment of impacts or consult relevant agencies before making siting decisions.

Map of India.
Awareness Module Instructional video for Awareness Module for SiteRight tool. © TNC

Awareness Module

Provides information on the extent of potential ecological conflicts and how much room there is to avoid these.

View Tool

Awareness Module (1:52) How to use the Awareness Module

Map of a central portion of India.
Site Assessment Module Instructional video for SiteRight tool. © TNC

Site Assessment Module

Provides an assessment of potential sources of conflicts across ecological and social variables for a user-defined area.

View the tool for various Indian states and the instructional video below.


Assessment Module (1:58) How to Use the Project Assessment Module

Screen grab of an analysis being run on the SiteRight tool.
Planning Module Instructional video for Planning Module for SiteRight tool. © TNC

Planning Module

Helps identify low-conflict parcels to meet your solar / wind energy goal. View the Planning Module tool for various Indian states and the instructional video below.

Planning Module (1:21) How to Use the Planning Module

News and Updates

  • SiteRight featured in IUCN Report

    Mitigating biodiversity impacts associated with solar and wind energy development. Read the Report

  • SiteRight featured in World Economic Forum Report

    New Nature Economy Report II: The Future of Nature and Business. Read the Article

  • Article in Journal Sustainability

    Renewable Energy and Land Use in India: A Vision to Facilitate Sustainable Development. Read the Article

  • Article on SiteRight in Bastion

    Dialogues: Dhaval Negandhi on Siting Renewable Energy Projects Sustainably. Read the Article

  • Article in Nature Scientific Data

    An Artificial Intelligence Dataset for Solar Energy Locations in India. Read the Article

  • Article on low impact renewable energy siting

    Degraded Lands can Aid Achieve Four Times India’s 2030 Renewable Energy Targets. Read the Article

  • Article on renewable energy impact in Policy Circle

    Unplanned Renewable Energy Drive Threatens Food security, Biodiversity. Read the Article

  • AI to Understand Solar Energy’s Impact in India

    The land use pattern of solar energy development in India covered in Cool Green Science. Read the Article

Our Partners

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This tool and all associated data, information, maps, analysis and results are meant for illustrative purposes only. The Nature Conservancy, Center for Science, Technology and Policy, Foundation for Ecological Security and Vasudha Foundation assume no responsibility and/or liability whatsoever for any interpretation of data, any investment decisions, or actions resulting from the represented information or analysis. We do not make any claims about the authenticity and/or veracity of the datasets used, and strongly recommend that the results are verified and cross-checked at ground-level before any decisions are made.

Several white wind turbines with red stripes stand in a vast green landscape in India.
Windmills near Ahmednagar By 2030, India is committed to achieving 40% cumulative electric power generation from non-fossil fuel sources. © TNC