Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission
Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Union Minister for New & Renewable Energy has termed the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission as a historic and
transformational initiative of the UPA Government. The Mission was launched On January 11, 2010 by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in New Delhi
at the Solar Energy Conclave.
Delivering the key note address on the occasion Dr. Abdullah said, three
major initiatives have been planned under the National Solar Mission
including creating volumes which will allow large scale domestic manufacture, announcing a long term policy to purchase power; and
supporting R&D to reduce material consumption and improve efficiency and
develop new materials and storage methods. The implementation of the Mission will proceed on the basis of the technology advancements and
cost reduction, which will be necessary for rapid scale-up and to achieve the target of 20,000 megawatts, he added.
Dr. Farooq Abdullah's address
This Mission is named after India's first and visionary Prime Minister,
Jawaharlal Nehru. For him, India's development needed to be anchored in its mastery over cutting-edge technologies. The Solar Mission is very
much in line with his vision, which has made India today, a leading nuclear and space power. He would have been equally keen and proud to
see India attaining the same level of advancement in solar energy. I am confident, that under the leadership of our Hon'ble Prime Minister, Dr
Manmohan Singh, we shall make India a Global Solar Power as well. This Mission on solar energy is one of the eight National Missions which
comprise India?s National Action Plan on Climate Change. It has the twin
objectives of contributing to India's long term energy security and ensuring its growth in an ecologically sustainable manner. We are living
in a world of rapidly depleting fossil fuel resources where access to
conventional energy resources such as oil, gas and coal is becoming increasingly constrained. For the security of our energy needs, the
deployment of renewable energy sources in our energy mix is imperative.
Also we cannot be oblivious to climatic and environmental dangers
inherent in the large scale use of fossil fuels. In this context and in
view of the high solar radiation over the country, the rapid development
and deployment of solar energy applications provides an effective and sustainable solution.
Sir, your presence on this occasion demonstrates the commitment of the Government of India to develop and adopt clean
energy technologies for the development of modern India.
The long term policy vision of the Solar Mission has been put together
as a document, which has been enriched by stakeholder discussions and
inputs. I would like to thank all my Ministerial colleagues for their
valuable inputs and support as also Mr Shyam Saran, Special Envoy of the
Prime Minister. The Solar Mission will be implemented in 3 stages leading to an installed capacity of 20,000 MW by the end of the 13th
Five Year Plan in 2022. It is envisaged that as a result of rapid scale
up as well as technological developments, the price of solar power will
continue to decline and attain parity with grid power at the end of the
Mission, enabling accelerated and large-scale expansion thereafter.
Quite obviously, in order to set the stage for achieving this ambitious
target, what we do in the next 3 to 4 years will be critical. Our policies and programmes in the first phase of the Mission will be
critical to guide and decide the future course of action. As we all know
today the initial cost of solar is very high, especially for grid power
generation. We aim to bring down the cost as quickly as possible. This
will allow us to provide power to our villages and rural homes.
We have planned three major initiatives under the National Solar Mission to
achieve this (i) create volumes which will allow large scale domestic
manufacture, (ii) announce a long term policy to purchase power; and
(ii) support R&D to reduce material consumption and improve efficiency
and develop new materials and storage methods. The implementation of the
Mission will proceed on the basis of the technology advancements and
cost reduction, which will be necessary for rapid scale-up and to achieve the target of 20,000 megawatts.
The Mission has decided to establish an investor-friendly mechanism
which reduces risk and at the same time, provides an attractive, predictable and sufficiently extended tariff for the purchase of solar
power. The focal point, for the next 3 years, will be the NTPC Vidyut
Vyapar Nigam (NVVN), which is the power trading arm of the NTPC. NVVN
will purchase solar power at rates fixed by the Central Regulatory Electricity Commission and for a period specified by the latter. When
the State utilities purchase solar power from NVVN they will get an equivalent amount of thermal power from NVVN. The bundling of more
expensive solar power with cheaper thermal power will enable a much cheaper tariff for the consumer, estimated at about Rs.5 or less per
unit, and this will also enable concerned States to meet their renewable
power purchase obligation, which is now mandatory.
I wish to record my deep appreciation and grateful thanks to my senior Cabinet colleague,
Shri Shinde ji, who as Minister of Power, has made this arrangement possible. I am confident that with the investor friendly arrangement put
in place for grid connected solar power, we should be able to achieve
the ambitious targets, set out by the Solar Mission. I am happy to inform you, Sir, that we have already taken the first steps in this
regard and that 2MW each of solar power plants have recently been commissioned at Asansol , West Bengal and at Amritsar, Punjab.
There are several off-grid solar applications which are already commercially viable or near viability, where rapid scale up is
Solar thermal heating
Solar thermal heating applications, such as water heaters, fall in this
category. We can go for a rapid scale up in a short time, and considerably reduce the burden on our grid. By 2022, we aim to install
20 million square meter solar thermal collectors in the country and save
about 7,500 MW power generation capacity. We are conscious that the
achievement of this target requires regulatory and incentive measures as
well as an extensive awareness campaign. We are working together with
financial institutions, industry as well as user groups to put together
the correct set of incentives that will enable the achievement of these
targets. I would like take this opportunity to request all State Governments to aid this process by appropriate regulatory measures such
as making the use of solar water heaters mandatory for certain types of consumers.
Solar lighting systems
Solar lighting systems for rural and remote areas are also being
purchased commercially in several parts of the country. Large scale use
of solar lights can save substantial quantities of kerosene and also
subsidy. We want 20 million solar lights to be installed by 2022, which
would result in a saving of about 1 billion litres of kerosene every
year. We are working with the banks, especially rural banks, to offer
soft loans to consumers for this purpose. My Ministry will help the banks do this through refinancing or interest rate subsidy. We are aware
that there are areas in the country such as island States and border
areas which are still dependent upon diesel for power generation. In
such areas we propose to provide up to 90% support for setting up solar
power plants. In many other solar applications, where the initial cost
is still very high, we are considering proposals for providing up to 30% grant-in-aid.
Research and deployment
Sir, I have already mentioned about R&D being one of the key
endeavor of the Solar Mission to bring down costs and promote deployment of solar
technologies. In pursuance of this goal, we in the Ministry have embarked on a focused R&D programme which seeks to address the
India-specific challenges in promoting solar energy. We are adopting a
technology neutral approach. Instead of backing a particular technology,
we are trying to address the current drawbacks in using solar energy ;
for instance, the evolving of a cost-effective and convenient storage
for solar power is high on priority in our R&D efforts. We shall also
work, in parallel, on accelerating the process of development of the
domestic solar industry. We believe that economies of scale, indigenisation and cutting edge research shall together lead to the cost
reductions that are necessary for the rapid scale up and deployment of
solar technologies. I am proud to inform you sir, that only yesterday,
we laid the foundation stone of three major research projects, including
one in PPP mode in our Solar Energy Centre at Gurgaon near Delhi
Research and deployment needs skilled and trained manpower. Under the
Solar Mission, we aim to address this issue as well. We would involve
various stakeholders in human resource development and other capacity
building efforts. As the first step, decided to offer fellowships to
research students to work at our premier research Centres and train them
in solar energy technologies.
Sir, in launching the National Action Plan on Climate Change, you had
given a pride of place to the Solar Energy Mission. You have a vision of
India emerging as a world leader in this sector. On our part, we are
working in close coordination with all other stakeholders, specially the
States, to translate your vision into a practical, measured and cost-effective plan of action. I would like to assure you once again
that we are fully committed to translate your vision to make solar energy affordable and to make India a Global Solar power.