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India takes a step forward with its National Solar Mission

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A top government agency has given conditional approval for billions of Euros in proposed investments in India's National Solar Mission.

Earlier this month REM reported on India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) which identifies eight core “national missions” running until 2017, including its National Solar Mission.

India is among a few countries on Earth with up to 300 days of sunshine per annum, which makes solar energy a very viable alternative to boost this country’s insufficient power generating capacity. According to Farooq Abdullah, India's federal minister for new and renewable energy, billions of Euros of investments will now be earmarked to reach India’s National Solar Mission target of producing 20,000 MW of electricity from solar sources by 2020.

Currently, solar energy production in India totals about 100 MW, although the government has announced that it will launch a massive education campaign about the benefits and uses of solar energy, which will accompany the stimulus package. The government’s recent announcement also indicates that regional governments would be the main authorities for approving proposed solar energy projects, while the federal government's role would be limited to deciding whether projects are eligible for the federal grants or subsidies.

The 20 GW solar target will help India close the gap on solar front-runners like China and, if fully implemented, would mean that solar power would be equivalent to one-eighth of India's current installed power base; helping the world's fourth-largest emitter of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions limit its heavy reliance on dirty coal and reduce the considerable power deficit that has stunted its growth.

It should also help India’s nine solar cell manufacturers and around 20 module manufacturers such as Tata BP Solar, a joint venture between Tata Power and BP plc's solar unit, BP Solar; Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, a state-run power and engineering equipment firm; and Lanco Infratech. The National Solar Mission also includes steps to drive down production costs of solar panels and spur domestic manufacturing, since India still lacks a domestic supplier of polysilicon and other solar materials, as well as a wafer manufacturing capacity, while government estimates that 100,000 jobs could be created.

For additional information:

Indian Ministry of New and renewable Energy

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