Highlights of India's 20 GW solar energy plans

Azam Mahmood

This week India launched a major solar initiative - the National Solar Plan: Our India correspondent sets out the highlights.

  • The US$19 billion National Solar Mission (or National Solar Plan) spread over 30 years aims to scale up solar power generation to 20GW by 2020;
  • The three-phased plan wants to generate 1-1.5 GW of solar power by 2012, 6-7 GW by 2017 and the rest by 2020;
  • It aims to cut down production costs of solar panels and spur domestic manufacturing. Money will be spent on incentives for production, installation and R&D;
  • The plan has a "near term" target of 100 MW, and a further long-term target of 100 GW by 2030, or 10%-12% of total power generation capacity estimated for that year;
  • Once implemented, the project will ensure large-scale deployment of solar generated power for both grid-connected as well as distributed and decentralised off-grid provision of commercial energy services;
  • India could cut about 42 million tonnes of CO2 emissions with its new solar plan. An estimated 20 million solar lights are estimated to save 1 billion litres of kerosene per annum by 2020;
  • Solar-powered equipment and applications will be mandatory for hospitals, hotels and government buildings, and villages and small towns will be encouraged with micro financing;
  • The plan outlines a system of paying households for any surplus power from solar panels fed back into the grid. The target would be to provide access to lighting for 3 million households by 2012;
  • India will promote solar heating systems and use 40-50 million m2 of area to install solar collectors in domestic, industrial and commercial sectors.


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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity  •  Solar heating and cooling



lja said

21 September 2009
Looking at these projections another way dulls my optimism. Supposing PVs make 10% of generation capacity then 90% will have to come from non-PVS. That suggests 13.5GW in 2012, 63GW in 2017, 180GW in 2020 and 900GW in 2030 from non-PVs. That's a lot of tidal, wind, biogas, or nuclear energy capacity to be built and operational if fossil fuels are to be excluded. What a challenge!

NISHI said

10 September 2009
Excellent step ahead - hope all developing nations go in this direction and get rid of fossil fuel one day.

sunrise1945 said

17 August 2009
Simultanous working on oceans energy exploitation could be worked out in orer to achieve the above mentioned energy development targets much earlier than the projected dates. The project costs for harnessing oceans energy are lower. Harnessing energy from oceans is cheaper compared to other sources. This is very much possible. Interested parties to contact undersigned.

Hiro Chandwani
Professor, Don Bosco Maritime Academy.
Email- sunrise1945@gmail.com
Mobile - +91 9870206665

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