During our trip to India, we toured a new installation of rooftop solar panels at one of the mills supplying our own manufacturers. On such a bright, clear day, it was incredible to actually see the future in progress, to know that those rays warming our faces were also helping to generate the power that would create our own products in a healthier, more sustainable way.
No one can ignore the realities of climate change right now. Making a commitment to sustainable practices is not just a choice to us, it’s an imperative. When we last visited India, we were fortunate enough to get an inside view of how our industry—including our own suppliers—is making renewable energy a viable part of our future.
As one of the most populous countries in the world, India is also one of the biggest consumers of energy. The rate has only increased as more and more people in rural areas gain access to power in their homes, and as industry grows. With such great demand for energy, the country is turning to solar power as the answer, taking a leadership role in the global shift toward clean energy. After all, if there’s any natural resource that India has in abundance, it’s sunshine.
India has also set an ambitious goal: provide power to all 40 million citizens still without electricity by 2022, and generate 175 gigawatts of renewable energy by the same year—100 gigawatts of which will be solar power. Thanks to the support of the international community, India is well on its way to meeting this goal. It takes more than just government agencies and nonprofits to make this change though. Individuals and private sector companies have to participate, and we’re ready to do our part.
The textile industry is a perfect starting place for the wider introduction of clean energy practices. Solar energy is easily adaptable and applicable to the industry, from using solar concentrators to boil water for dyeing to converting to steam engines or using solar thermal backup.
Solar power is becoming more widely available and cost efficient, which is why we see it as the future standard for our industry and are committed to partnering with more energy-conscious suppliers ourselves. The cost of electricity from solar is already less than it was ten years ago, and it should continue to become more affordable, making mindful production practices and policies a more common and realistic choice for all businesses.
Although a completely solar-powered textile industry is still just an idea, our partners are making incredible strides in expanding their renewable energy programs, moving that much closer to making this idea a reality. The mill we visited plans to build another addition that will allow them to generate 35-40% more solar energy in the future. One of our factory partners, where many of our fashion duvet covers are made, is also generating their own solar power. They have an inspiring goal: increasing their solar power capacity from 30-35% to 80-90% in the next 6 months, and are well on their way to meeting it.
We might be a few years away from industry-wide adoption of solar power, but at our current pace, it’s not as far off as it once seemed. We’re proud to be part of this change, and to support a move towards a healthier, greener textile industry and planet. I, for one, look forward to the time in the not-too-distant future when more and more of our products not only say “Made in India,” but “Made in India with Solar Power.”