Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Indian government unveils National Solar Mission Plan document!

Right then, here’s what most of the readers interested in the Indian solar photovoltaics industry were waiting to know!

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), government of India has announced the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.

Interested folks can download the report from MNRE’s website — http://www.mnes.nic.in/

Let’s take a look at the Mission targets. These are:

• To create an enabling policy framework for the deployment of 20,000 MW of solar power by 2022.

• To ramp up capacity of grid-connected solar power generation to 1000 MW within three years – by 2013; an additional 3000 MW by 2017 through the mandatory use of the renewable purchase obligation by utilities backed with a preferential tariff. This capacity can be more than doubled – reaching 10,000MW installed power by 2017 or more, based on the enhanced and enabled international finance and technology transfer. The ambitious target for 2022 of 20,000 MW or more, will be dependent on the ‘learning’ of the first two phases, which if successful, could lead to conditions of grid-competitive solar power. The transition could be appropriately up scaled, based on availability of international finance and technology.

• To create favourable conditions for solar manufacturing capability, particularly solar thermal for indigenous production and market leadership.

• To promote programs for off grid applications, reaching 1000 MW by 2017 and 2000 MW by 2022 .

• To achieve 15 million sq. meters solar thermal collector area by 2017 and 20 million sq. meters solar thermal collector area by 2022.

• To deploy 20 million solar lighting systems for rural areas by 2022.

There you are! All the targets are right in front of you! You can choose to get into solar lighting systems or other off-grid applications, or maybe, grid-connected applications. The current grid connected capacity is less than 2 MW, which means, there’s only one way to go all the way — up! Those missing out, here’s the time to enter the Indian solar/PV market. And, be ready to be a long term player.

The targets at first glance seem to be quite steep, although I feel the 20 million solar lighting systems for rural areas is low, and could be much higher. The PPAs (power purchase agreement), I believe, are valid for 25 years — a recommendation made by AES Solar during Solarcon India 2009.

I am trying to speak with some industry folks as well, and get their views and whether they are happy with this.

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