For potential of solar power in India: Sky is the limit

Growing demand of energy, the fast depletion of conventional energy sources and growing concern over the climatic changes, have increased the focus on alternative sources of energy around the world. India receives almost 300 days of sunshine every year and has a great reservoir for wind energy; therefore India being a developing country holds a great importance for such clean resources to achieve sustainable economic growth.

To improve the public- private partnerships and to discuss various prospects and challenges that exist in the solar energy sector in India, The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), a New Delhi-based apex industry body, today, organised the conference on Solar India: Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) at New Delhi. JNNSM, is a major initiative started in 2009 by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India (GOI) and State Governments, to promote ecologically sustainable growth while addressing India’s energy security challenge. It is one of the 8 missions under GOI’s, National Action Plan on Climate Change. The project is due to complete in 3 phases by 2022, targeting 20,000 MW of total energy. The objective of the conference was to discuss various policy and regulatory issues relating to development and deployment of solar technologies in the country, which will help in implementing the phase II of JNNSM, beginning from 2013. Speaking at the conference, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy, said that “Grid connectivity for the produced power, storage of energy for larger period at cheaper rates, high interest rates imposed by the banks, etc are some of the challenges that phase I of the project is facing. These need to be overcome so that even the local people can by themselves afford to have solar roof tops, thereby supplementing their own energy needs.” “The energy requirement grows every year, for this not only the renewables, but also the conventional sources of energy will play a key role till we find a solution to these problems”, he added. Dr. Abdullah in his key message urged the gathering to forget their political difference and work together, to create a better and sustainable world. “Gas will disappear, but Sun will not, our job is to work together and chart out ways to make this industry prosper in easier and cheaper manner,” he said. The event started with the National Anthem, the first ever event in India to do so. Rajkumar Dhoot, President, ASSOCHAM, in his opening remarks said that “Before this mission, it was beyond imagination to see solar power technology to come anywhere close to conventional power. However, with solar electricity now coming around to Rs 8 per unit, it will very soon beat the thermal power on price level very soon.” Dhoot also promised full support by ASSOCHAM to GOI to successfully carry forward the national solar mission. “The green fund fixed by the finance minister in the budget last year needs to be utilized on JNNSM”, said Dr. Pramod Deo, Chairperson, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission. He also demanded for a proper renewable energy law that can boost this mission. The conference also included theme paper presentation and book release, highlighting the functioning of the phase I of the mission, by Dr. N.K. Bansal, Former HOD, Centre for Energy Studies, IIT Delhi. “The mission has placed India on the path of environmentally benign energy economy providing the nation with energy security as well meet her environmental obligation”, said Dr. Bansal. Rakesh Bakshi, Chairman, ASSOCHAM, while discussing the future roadmap for the project emphasized on maintaining the quality of solar systems. He said that “As we enhance the manufacturing capacity in the country, we will need to make sure that the technology is not compromised on quality, as drop in efficiency can hurt the industry from the targeted enhanced growth.” Emphasising on the importance of the mission, Bakshi said that “the mission is not just about creating awareness for this technology, it is about creating on ground the capacity and capability, to meet India’s ever growing demand of electricity. India has 5000 T kWh of solar intensity per year; we need to harness this to make India not just cleaner and greener but also energy self –sufficient and independent.”

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