PM launches Ground Breaking Solar Drive !!!
14 Aug 2009, Comments: | Views: 2455 | | Category: Environment, India

India's prime minister Manmohan Singh has approved a US$19 billion plan to make the country a global leader in solar energy over the next three decades. The ambitious project would see a massive expansion in installed solar capacity, and aims to reduce the price of electricity generated from solar energy to match that from fossil fuels by 2030. The solar mega-project, aimed at expanding India's solar capacity from the current 3 megawatts (MW)(virtually non-existent) to a reported 20 gigawatts (GW) by 2020(According to the International Energy Agency, global solar capacity is predicted to be 27GW by then — meaning that India expects to be producing 75 per cent of this within 10 years) and 200 GW by 2050, will form the centerpiece of a National Climate Change Strategy . Click Here to Read the Text of National Action Plan .

With worldwide installed solar-generation capacity totalling just 16.5 GW, and India's power generation capacity at 150 GW, the plan is notable for its scale and ambition.India, along with China and others, has demanded that the costs of clean technologies should be borne by developed nations, who have grown rich through their heavy use of fossil fuels. 

Under the revised plan, India’s solar mission will seek to achieve its targets by demanding technological and financial support from the developed nations.The move suggests that New Delhi could use its solar energy plan as a bargaining chip at the forthcoming climate change summit in Copenhagen.

Some are sceptical abut the mission's chance of success. Going from 5 MW to 20 GW in 11 years definetly looks like a science fiction.

The Road To Solar

 A detailed road map has been drawn up to 2020. By then, according to the mission document, solar lighting will be available for 20 million households and 42 million tonnes of CO2 emissions will be saved annually by the switch to solar energy. The government plans to create a solar fund with initial investment of $1.1 billion and build it up by taxing fossil fuels and the power generated from them — 0.1 cents for every kWh produced. By 2030, it hopes to reduce the cost of electricity from photovoltaic cells to around 10 cents per kWh, matching the price of electricity derived from conventional fuels.

The plan will be pushed forward by a mixture of other policy and regulatory measures. Those include making it mandatory for existing thermal power plants to generate at least 5% of their capacity from solar power, and for government buildings to install photovoltaic panels on rooftops. Producers connected to the grid will be able to sell their excess solar electricity to utilities; solar-power projects get a 10-year tax holiday; and other 'carrots' for the industry include the duty-free import of raw materials and priority bank loans.

Presently India has nine solar cell manufacturers and nearabout 20 module manufacturers. However, it still wants a domestic supplier of polysilicon and other solar materials also a wafer manufacturing capacity. 

Manufacturers such as Tata BP Solar are aiming the export market. Present proposals before the government also seems to be aimed at the export market, with reference to a position paper released by SEMI India previously this year.

With approval of its solar strategy, India is taking significant steps toward asserting global leadership with respect to both clean energy and climate change. Making the plan a success, however, will require sustained and effective efforts by the Indian government in combination with other stakeholders.



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