The Indian government has unveiled a new solar policy called Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, ‘Solar India’, to aid the development of solar energy in the country. Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy announced the government’s approval of the mission, describing it as “an historic and transformational initiative”.
Along with the other seven national missions comprising India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change, Abdullah said the Solar Mission is in line with the vision of modern India of India’s prime minister, Pandit Nehru, and “has a twin objective - to contribute to India’s long-term energy security as well as its ecological security”.
Through Solar India, the government has sanctioned 1,100 MW of grid-connected solar power and 200 MW of off-grid solar applications using both solar thermal and photovoltaic technologies in the first phase of the Mission, while subsequent stages of the Mission will lead to an installed capacity of 20,000 MW by the end of the 13th Five Year Plan in 2022.
The Mission also includes a major initiative for promoting rooftop solar PV applications. A solar tariff announced by the regulators will also be applicable for such installations. “The Mission will establish a single window investor-friendly mechanism, which reduces risk and at the same time, provides an attractive, predictable and sufficiently extended tariff for the purchase of solar power for the grid,” said Abdullah.
He also added that the Mission would focus on research and development and human resource development and toughen indigenous skills and improve indigenous content to make the Mission sustainable. “The mission will have a very focused research and development programme which seeks to address the India-specific challenges in promoting solar energy,” he explained.
The Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has already implemented several initiatives relating to Solar India. It recently cleared proposals to set up 29 MW of grid-connected solar power projects under ongoing demonstration schemes, while 3 MW of solar power plants have been set up in West Bengal and Karnataka. The ministry has also sanctioned several projects to set up about 525 kWp of solar PV projects to save diesel and is implementing several other projects to promote solar thermal energy applications around the country.
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