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INDIA’S SOLAR MISSION, PHASE 2
BY MERIBETH DEEN ON DECEMBER 10, 2012
The Indian government’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has released a draft of its policy for Phase II of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM). First inaugurated in 2010, the mission is a key component of India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change. It aims to create conditions to drive down the cost of solar power and establish India as a global leader.
Since the launch of India’s Solar Mission, capacity has risen from 17.8MW to 1050MW. Fifty percent of projects launched through the program were photovoltaic, while the other 50 percent were solar-thermal. Phase I of the National Solar Mission comes to a close in 2013.
Phase II of the solar mission aims to increase generation by 10 Gigawatts. Strategies to meet that target include grants to cut project costs, loosening of restrictions on the purchase of overseas equipment and “bundling,” which would combine solar power with traditional power sources such as coal in order to reduce the cost of solar power alone. A Generation Based Incentive (GBI) will aim to increase rooftop PV systems and small power plants.
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy says that Phase II will deliver power to some 20 thousand rural communities with off-grid solar projects including around 1 million solar lighting systems, 25,000 solar water pumps, 25,000 solar integrated telecom towers, 50,000 solar cookers and 8 million square kilometers of solar collectors for domestic solar heating and 100,000 square meters for industrial solar heating.
Meribeth Deen is a freelance writer, researcher, broadcaster and film-maker. Her writing has appeared in Canadian Geographic, the Vancouver Sun, Alberta Ventures Magazine, Green Living Online, THIS Magazine and Alternatives Journal.
Image:An Indian worker cleans solar arrays during the inauguration of a one-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant near Gandhinagar, in 2011. The ground-mount photovoltaic power plant is the first of its kind in Gujarat state, expected to produce 1.5 million kilowatt-hours of clean solar energy.