India Unveils Ambitious Solar Energy Plans

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India has unveiled ambitious solar plans that sets to achieve parity with cost of electricity on the grid by 2022 and parity with coal-based thermal power by 2030

The plan is to produce 20,000 MW through solar power by 2022.

This Mission is one of the eight key National Missions which comprise India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change.

The Cabinet has approved setting up of 1,100 MW of grid solar power and 200 MW capacity of off-grid solar applications utilizing both solar thermal and photovoltaic technologies in the first phase of the Mission.

The focal point, for the next 3 years, will be the NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN), which is the power trading arm of the NTPC. Government will designate it for the purchase of solar power generated by independent solar power producers, at rates fixed by the Central Regulatory Electricity Commission and for a period specified by the latter.

The Solar Mission recommends the implementation in 3 stages leading up to an installed capacity of 20,000 MW by the end of the 13th Five Year Plan in 2022. The first phase will last until 2012-2013, Phase 2 will run from 2013-2017 and 2017-2022 as Phase 3. The first phase will focus on capturing low-hanging options in solar thermal; promoting off-grid systems to serve populations without access to commercial energy, and modest capacity additions of grid-based systems. In the second phase, the government says that capacity will be aggressively ramped up to create conditions for up-scaled and competitive solar energy penetration.

Government has recently cleared proposals to set up 29 MW capacity megawatt size grid connected solar power projects under the ongoing demonstration schemes. Recently, 3 MW capacity grid solar power plants have been set up in West Bengal and Karnataka. Government has also sanctioned several projects to set up about 525 kWp capacity solar PV projects to save diesel.

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