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India in darkness in the wake of 1-gigawatt solar power milestone

In an ironic scenario, just as India marked its 1-gigawatt milestone for solar photovoltaic installations, the nation was left “powerless” for two days in a row.

India had reached a solar installed capacity of 1,030.66 megawatts, reported PV Magazine, most of this, around 65 percent, coming from the western state of Gujarat.

But the country has recently suffered from a serious power breakdown. Touted as the biggest blackout in history, over 700 million people were deprived of electricity on Tuesday.

According to a Reuters report, a massive failure of three of the country’s five grids knocked out power across 22 states, including national capital New Delhi, “highlighting chronic infrastructure woes holding back Asia's third-largest economy.”

"I've no doubt that this is the area that we need to show improved performance in, and we also need show a clear sense of what we are doing to prevent it," government's top economic planning adviser, Montek Singh Ahluwalia told Reuters.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pledged to hasten the development of delayed energy and infrastructure projects in an effort to recover the country’s abating economy.

For years, the government has been setting ambitious goals and planning projects to expand its power capacity to match the burgeoning energy demand of its people. However, both these goals and projects encountered impediments, calling for more intensive efforts to turn these into reality.

Power-cuts are common to India due to an unrelieved shortage of electricity, which hampers the country’s realization of its full economic potential. In 2004 to 2005, the nation’s power demand fell short by around 7 to 11 percent.

Currently, electricity is restored across majority of the regions in the nation. – C. Dominguez

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