The exponential increase in energy demand is a direct consequence of the rapid growth of the global population and advancements in civilization. However, it is widely recognized that fossil fuels, despite being associated with significant environmental and health issues, are not a sustainable solution.

Significant quantities of greenhouse gases, including methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide, are released during the combustion of fossil fuels. The emissions of these gases are projected to rise over time, driven by the rapid pace of civil and industrial development. If no changes are made to our energy sources, the current and anticipated levels of greenhouse gas emissions will lead to various consequences such as weather fluctuations, detrimental health effects, rising sea levels, and disruptions to ecosystems.

The Paris Agreement necessitates that those who have signed it must achieve a 20% decrease in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by the year 2030. This reduction is by diversifying power generation through the implementation of Non-Conventional Renewable Energy (NCRE) (Liyanage, 2020). As a result, there is currently a heightened focus on the generation of renewable energy worldwide, driven by concerns over global warming and the urgent need to address the climate crisis.

Additionally, there is a significant increase in global electricity consumption. In essence, if countries do not have a reliable source of electricity, they will be unable to power their economies. It is essential to expand infrastructure and upgrade technology to provide clean energy to all developing nations. This objective not only promotes economic growth but also contributes to environmental preservation (United Nations,2022). Various sustainable energy sources, including biomass, wind, solar, hydropower, and geothermal, can provide reliable energy services. Over the past three decades, the costs of solar and wind power systems have considerably decreased, in contrast to the fluctuating prices of oil and gas. As a result, there is a growing trend towards transitioning to renewable energy systems (Herzog, Lipman, and Kammen, 2001).

The National Energy Policy (2019) is prioritizing energy security, equity, and sustainability in the energy supply. To ensure a reliable and well-balanced energy mix, it is crucial to maintain a consistent power supply using various sources such as Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) or domestic natural gas, high-efficiency coal power, large storage hydro, furnace oil produced from national refineries, and non-conventional renewable energy sources (Ministry of Environment, 2021).

Due to its proximity to the equator, Sri Lanka benefits from a plentiful and consistent supply of solar radiation throughout the year. The island experiences a relatively stable level of solar radiation, with no significant seasonal variations observed. This geographical advantage positions Sri Lanka as an ideal location for harnessing solar energy and underscores the potential for widespread adoption of solar power generation systems. The consistent availability of solar radiation offers a reliable and sustainable source of renewable energy for the country (Wijesena and Amarasinghe, 2018). However, according to the Sri Lanka energy sector development plan 2015-2025, although solar power has the capacity to fulfill 32 percent of the country’s yearly requirement of 10,500 gigawatts, only 0.01 percent has been utilized so far (Perera, 2016).  According to the solar resource map created by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the USA, it is believed that most of the flat and arid regions in Sri Lanka, which makes up approximately 66% of the country’s land area, is capable of producing 4.0 to 4.5 kWh/m2/day (Renn et al., 2003). Sri Lanka’s national energy policy-2008 stated that the country will strive for a 10% contribution to grid electricity from NCRE sources by 2015, excluding conventional hydroelectricity (Jayaweera, Jayasinghe and Weerasinghe, 2018).

In recent years, the power sector has made significant progress in attracting private investments for the expansion of renewable energy. This has been achieved through the implementation of favorable feed-in tariff rates, solar net-metering and net accounting, accessible financing options for solar rooftop expansion, energy efficiency labeling for specific appliances, and the gradual elimination of incandescent lighting. These measures have led to a widespread integration of renewable energy into the grid and a reduction in overall energy demand. The climate change and sustainable development policies of Sri Lanka aim to incorporate climate change considerations into the power sector and other important sectors. This integration involves addressing climate change risks and fulfilling commitments outlined in the National Energy Policy & Strategies of Sri Lanka (2019) and the Long-Term Electricity Generation Expansion Plan 2018-2037(Ministry of Environment, 2021).

Sri Lanka has significant opportunities for the utilization of renewable energy sources, encompassing solar, wind, hydro, and biomass energy. The advantages of embracing renewable energy are extensive, spanning from decreased greenhouse gas emissions to enhanced energy self-sufficiency. Nevertheless, there are obstacles to overcome, including the considerable upfront expenses, land availability, grid integration, and environmental considerations, which necessitate attention for effective implementation. By engaging in meticulous planning, receiving policy backing, and leveraging technological advancements, Sri Lanka can tap into its renewable energy potential and lead the way towards a sustainable and green future.

Ms. A.L.Y. Harshani Aruppala

Harshani Aruppala is an esteemed Environmental Officer and dedicated researcher focused on pressing environmental concerns, food security, waste management, sustainable development, climate change, and conservation. With expertise in these areas, she has published influential papers and collaborates with organizations to promote eco-friendly practices, aiming to build a greener and sustainable future.


Herzog, A.V., Lipman, T.E. and Kammen, D.M., 2001. Renewable energy sources. Encyclopedia of life support systems (EOLSS). Forerunner Volume-‘Perspectives and overview of life support systems and sustainable development, 76.

Jayaweera, N., Jayasinghe, C.L. and Weerasinghe, S.N., 2018. Local factors affecting the spatial diffusion of residential photovoltaic adoption in Sri Lanka. Energy Policy, 119, pp.59-67.

Liyanage, N., (2020) Private sector engagement in large scale solar power deployment in Sri Lanka: Role of green climate fund. Bulletin of the Korea Photovoltaic Society, 6(1), pp.21-34.

Ministry of Environment (2021). Updated Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). Available at: Accessed on 14.11.2023].

Ministry of Sustainable Development, Wildlife and Regional Development (2022) Sri Lanka Voluntary National Review on the status of Implementing Sustainable Development Goals. Available at: (Accessed on 12.11.2023).

Perera, A. (2016) High Cost Slowing Sri Lanka Push Toward Solar Energy. Available at (Accessed : 13.11.2023).

Renné, D., George, R., Marion, B., Heimiller, D. and Gueymard, C., (2003) Solar resource assessment for Sri Lanka and Maldives (No. NREL/TP-710-34645). National Renewable Energy Lab.(NREL), Golden, CO (United States).

Wijesena, G. and Amarasinghe, A., 2018. Solar energy and its role in Sri Lanka. International Journal of Engineering Trends and Technology, 65(3), pp.141-148.