India to be Global Leader in solar energy

By    IANS
Tuesday,04 August 2009, 08:11 hrs

New Delhi: India’s 30-year Rs.91,684 crore (Rs.916.84 billion/$19.25 billion) plan that aims to make it the global leader in solar energy is coming up for the nod by the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change here Monday evening.

A background note circulated to members of the council before the meeting says the National Solar Mission will add 20,000 MW of generation capacity by 2020 and make it as cheap as electricity from conventional sources.

The outlay will be with Rs.10,130 crore in the current Five Year Plan (ending 2012), Rs.22,515 crore in the 2012-2017 second phase, and Rs.11,921 crore in the 2017-2020 third phase.

The plan is to raise this by taxing fossil fuels, mainly coal. The objectives of the programme include:

* 20,000 MW of installed solar generation capacity by 2020 and 100,000 MW by 2030; 200,000 MW by 2050

* Solar power cost reduction to achieve grid tariff parity by 2020

* Achieve parity with coal-based thermal power generation by 2030

* 4-5 GW of installed solar manufacturing capacity by 2017.

The plan is to develop solar energy in India in three phases.

“The objective in Phase I (2009-12) will be to achieve rapid scale up to drive down costs, to spur domestic manufacturing and to validate the technological and economic viability of different solar applications,” says the note.

This will be done through promotion of commercial scale solar utility plants, mandated deployment of solar rooftop or on-site solar PV (photovoltaic) applications in government and public sector undertaking buildings, promotion of these applications in other commercial buildings, and mandating that at least five percent of power generating capacity being added every year will be through solar sources.

Vacant land in existing power plants will be used for this purpose, and anybody who produces solar power at home or office will be able to sell the excess back to the power distributor.

Solar PV panels will be promoted to charge invertors at homes and offices.

Phase II will run from 2012 to 2017 during which schemes which are found to work in Phase I will be scaled up.

Phase III, from 2017 to 2020, will see further scaling up with minimal or no subsidy. This envisages the installation of one million rooftop solar energy systems, plus solar lighting for 20 million households.

In the process, India will reduce its emission of carbon dioxide — the world’s main greenhouse gas that is leading to climate change — by almost 60 million tonnes a year.

It will save 1.05 billion litres of diesel, a billion litres of kerosene and 350 million litres of fuel oil per year by 2020.

The plan advocates change in law to enable people to sell extra solar power they generate to utility firms.

A 10-year tax holiday and customs and excise duty exemptions on capital equipment and critical materials are also being proposed.
A slew of other financial incentives has been proposed, as well as the setting up of a strong research and development programme, human resources development and international cooperation.

If the plan succeeds, India will become the world’s largest solar energy market.

Apart from the prime minister, other members of the council are the external affairs minister, finance minister, ministers of environment and forests, agriculture, water resources, science and technology, new and renewable energy, the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, the National Security Advisor, C. Rangarajan, chairman of the Economic Advisory Council, Ratan Tata, chairman of the Investment Commission, V. Krishnamurthy, chairman of the National Manufacturing Competitive Council, R. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Advisor to PM, R.K. Pachauri, chairman of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Prodipto Ghosh, Chandrashekhar Dasgupta and Nitin Desai of TERI, Sunita Narain of the Centre for Science and Environment, Ajay Mathur, chairman of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Jyoti Parekh, director of IRADe, journalists Raj Chengappa and R. Ramachandran, the foreign secretary, the secretary in the ministry of environment and forests, and the principal secretary to the PM, who is the convenor.

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