Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission Towards Building SOLAR INDIA 1. Introduction The National Solar Mission is a major initiative of the Government of India and State Governments to promote ecologically sustainable growth while addressing India s energy security challenge. It will also constitute a major contribution by India to the global effort to meet the challenges of climate change. In launching India s National Action Plan on Climate Change on June 30, 2008, the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh stated: Our vision is to make India s economic development energy-efficient. Over a period of time, we must pioneer a graduated shift from economic activity based on fossil fuels to one based on non-fossil fuels and from reliance on non-renewable and depleting sources of energy to renewable sources of energy. In this strategy, the sun occupies centre-stage, as it should, being literally the original source of all energy. We will pool our scientific, technical and managerial talents, with sufficient financial resources, to develop solar energy as a source of abundant energy to power our economy and to transform the lives of our people. Our success in this endeavour will change the face of India. It would also enable India to help change the destinies of people around the world. The National Action Plan on Climate Change also points out: India is a tropical country, where sunshine is available for longer hours per day and in great intensity. Solar energy, therefore, has great potential as future energy source. It also has the advantage of permitting the decentralized distribution of energy, thereby empowering people at the grassroots level . Based on this vision a National Solar Mission is being launched under the brand name Solar India .
2. Importance and relevance of solar energy for India 1. Cost: Solar is currently high on absolute costs compared to other sources of power such as coal. The objective of the Solar Mission is to create conditions, through rapid scale-up of capacity and technological innovation to drive down costs towards grid parity. The Mission anticipates achieving grid parity by 2022 and parity with coal-based thermal power by 2030, but recognizes that this cost trajectory will depend upon the scale of global deployment and technology development and transfer. The cost projections vary from 22% for every doubling of capacity to a reduction of only 60% with global deployment increasing 16 times the current level. The Mission Page 1 of 15
recognizes that there are a number of off-grid solar applications particularly for meeting rural energy needs, which are already cost-effective and provides for their rapid expansion. 2. Scalability: India is endowed with vast solar energy potential. About 5,000 trillion kWh per year energy is incident over India s land area with most parts receiving 4-7 kWh per sq. m per day. Hence both technology routes for conversion of solar radiation into heat and electricity, namely, solar thermal and solar photovoltaics, can effectively be harnessed providing huge scalability for solar in India. Solar also provides the ability to generate power on a distributed basis and enables rapid capacity addition with short lead times. Off-grid decentralized and low-temperature applications will be advantageous from a rural electrification perspective and meeting other energy needs for power and heating and cooling in both rural and urban areas. The constraint on scalability will be the availability of space, since in all current applications, solar power is space intensive. In addition, without effective storage, solar power is characterized by a high degree of variability. In India, this would be particularly true in the monsoon season. 3. Environmental impact: Solar energy is environmentally friendly as it has zero emissions while generating electricity or heat. 4. Security of source: From an energy security perspective, solar is the most secure of all sources, since it is...
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