Mumbai: Switching to solar power could save over 30 per cent of India's coal imports amid surging international coal prices, according to a survey conducted by consultancy firm KPMG.

"Currently, 30 per cent of India's energy needs are met through imported sources such as oil, coal and LNG and this can go up to 59 per cent in the next 20 years if not addressed immediately," the survey titled `The Rising Sun' said.

"In the next 20 years, solar power will play an important role in securing India's energy future as well as in mitigating carbon emission. We believe that solar power can displace more than 30 per cent of India's coal requirement by 2021-22. This would translate in savings of USD 5.5-billion in imports per year from 2022 onwards," KPMG Executive Director, Santosh Kamath, told reporters here on Wednesday.

According to the report, solar power can meet 5-7 per cent of the total energy requirements by 2021-22 and also meet more than 10 per cent of India's carbon emission reduction targets.

"The Government has set voluntary targets to reduce emission intensity on GDP by 20-25 per cent by 2020 in comparison to the 2005 levels. We believe solar energy can contribute to one-tenth of this target to cut emissions," he said.

The report also emphasises on adopting decentralized application model wherein solar rooftop systems, solar-powered agriculture pump sets, solar lighting system and solar-powered telecom towers are set up at the consumer-end.