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India releases draft of Phase II of solar mission

India releases draft of Phase II of solar mission
To stimulate the tourism industry in India and increase the number of foreign tourists in the coming years, the tourism ministry has envisaged a budgetary allocation of $45 million to $50 million in the 12th Five Year Plan.

The draft document of Phase 2 of India’s ambitious solar plan has been released by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

India’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission seeks to establish India as a global leader in solar energy by creating policy conditions to support the spread of solar power projects in the country. The goal is to add 20 gigawatts of grid connected and 2 GW of off-grid solar capacity by 2022.

Phase I of the mission from 2010 to 2013 set a target of 1,100 MW of grid-connected power and 200 MW off-grid. The bidding for projects was further divided into two batches with batch one seeing 704 MW of grid connected solar projects selected and batch two 350 MW.

Under Phase I, India’s solar energy market grew from 17.8 MW in 2010 to 1,044 MW cumulated installed capacity as of August 31, 2012.

For Phase II (2013-2017), the mission envisages installation of around 10 GW grid-connected power and 1 GW of off-grid solar power projects. Of this, 4 GW will be developed under a centralized scheme while 6 GW will be developed under state-specific schemes.

Phase II would also focus the deployment of rooftop PV systems with the goal of reaching 1,000 MW of rooftop projects both at off-grid and grid connected levels.

Since a developing country like India still has large rural areas with limited access to electricity, Phase II will focus on standalone solar off-grid generating systems. This would also include projects such as home lighting systems and other forms of solar based applications.

Under Phase II, it is envisioned that around 20,000 rural communities will become the beneficiaries of off-grid solar energy 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.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy will consider the development of solar parks at the state level as a major thrust area for Phase II. Solar parks are a concentrated zone of solar development usually over 600 hectares. Private or public investors will lease the land and construct individual solar plants in the area, sharing common infrastructure such as evacuation and transmission infrastructure. Solar parks can also have manufacturing facilities, testing and characterization facilities and other research and development related projects.

India’s solar power potential is immense with around 300 sunny days a year making it capable of producing 5,000 trillion kilowatts of clean energy. According to the MNRE, if this potential is harnessed efficiently, it can easily reduce the country’s energy deficit and reduce its carbon emissions. – Katrice R. Jalbuena

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