Clean power need gives India's solar mission
Aug 29, 2008 - Times of India
The government is looking to get India's 'national
solar mission' underway with steps to set up research-industry
partnerships, tariff structures and tax breaks to citizens
aimed at promoting competitiveness and even seed 'solar
valleys' for largescale energy generation.
The recognition that solar power represents
a huge untapped potential for relatively clean energy saw
PMO call a meeting on Tuesday to discuss what could be done
to make this form of energy more viable in the Indian context
where there is an abundance of sunshine through most of
A part of the national climate change policy,
the solar mission targets 10,000MW installed capacity by
2020, a figure which officials hope can be further augmented.
The mission would focus on reducing the high costs of photovoltaic
cells, which have to be replaced regularly and make it prohibitive
for individuals and corporates to consider solar power.
The agenda to promote solar power includes
framing banking policy for priority sector lending for households
who adopt such options. Targets could also be set for new
concerns drawing more than 500 KW to ensure a certain percentage
is set aside for solar generation and may be mandated in
select public utilities and private services through legislation.
The possibility of taking a page out of the
Silicon revolution by planning 'solar valleys' is quite
beguiling even though it sounds futuristic. These special
zones would be a confluence of research and industry and
are part of the government's efforts to achieve "grid parity"
by 2017 and will require big funding — which the government
feels can be attracted — to make the scheme workable.
The big challenge before the mission remains
ensuring subsidies do not kill the appetite for competition
since maintenance and replacement of batteries are an expensive
option for users.
This needs the attention of researchers for
developing new materials and processes to keep sight of
the government's objective of ensuring that subsidies are
"incentives for delivery" and not "props" that industry
and users get habituated to.