While counties across the world are dithering about climate mitigation, India is getting ready to launch its Solar Mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change.
At the moment, India produces less than 5 MW of solar power a year. Under the National Action Plan on Climate Change, India aims to generate 1.000 MW by 2013, and if that goes well, increase capacities to an annual production of 20.000 MW by 2020.
According to the Times of India, the mission will be segmented into three phases. The first three-year phase will be evaluated and on that basis financial mechanisms for the next phases are to be decided.
During phase 1 (2010-2013) the government is proposing to cover an area of 7 million square meters with solar collectors. The promotion of roof-top panels through generation based incentive for self-use as well as putting the power on to the grid is also intended.
India’s Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, explains his guidelines for India’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM):
- Making India’s economy energy efficient
- Pioneering a graduated shift from economic activity based on fossil fuels to one based on non-fossil fuels
- Shifting reliance on no-renewable and depleting sources of energy to renewable source of energy
- Pooling scientific, technical and managerial talents, with sufficient financial resources, to develop solar energy as a source of abundant energy to power the economy and to transform the lives of Indian people
- In effect enable India to help change the destinies of people around the world
Another interesting point is the fact that it has been decided that instead of the large direct subsidy to solar power producers suggested earlier, solar power production and sale will be integrated into existing power purchase mechanisms.
NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Limited (NVVN) shall in the first phase be made the nodal agency to buy solar power from producers at the rate recently established by Central Electricty Regulatory Commission. Sold to state utilities, it would be credited against the compulsory renewable energy purchase targets set up by the respective state electricity regulatory commission. Specific targets for solar power are yet to be decided.
Another barrier is to be eased by plans to do away with customs and excise duty on import of capital equipment as well as ease the duty rates for raw material and inputs.
Furthermore 1.000 engineers are to be trained specializing in the field of photovoltaic, and scholarships will enable 100 engineers to study abroad during phase 1 of India’s solar mission. Appropriate courses are to be set up at engineering institutes.
It is intended that by the end of the final phase in 2022, 20.000 MW of grid-based solar power, 2,000 MW of off-grid solar power and coverage of 20 million square meters with collectors will be achieved through India’s Solar mission.