With India facing significant challenges of burgeoning energy deficit and lowering carbon footprint, it is time that we reckon solar power as the Energy of Tomorrow. As India endeavours to achieve the targeted 15% energy from renewable sources by 2020, solar power is expected to play a more prominent role with India’s solar potential pegged at 600 GW. Four years post the release of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), this article authored by Jaya James and Deepa Sastry discusses the progress made so far in the solar space and attempts to juxtapose and analyze the solar power policies at the Centre and State level.
This article is written by the authors for ThinktoSustain.com as part of Media/Knowledge Partnership with the event Solar Conclave 2012 held at School of Petroleum Management (SPM), Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University (PDPU), Gujarat, on October 12, 2012.
Among the potential states in India for solar development, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have laid down clear mandates for solar investments, and hence, these states have been chosen for evaluation. A blanket policy approach does not work because of the underpinning differences in the macro environmental aspects of different states (Table 1).
Table 1: Macro Environmental Analysis of Indian States
Government of India (GoI) included solar energy as a key mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change and formally launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) in 2010. The project has been planned in three phases (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Planned Capacity Addition Under JNNSM
Out of the 37 projects selected in Phase I, 35 have achieved financial closure and are expected to be on track for timely installation. Only 143.5 MW out of 1000 MW has been commissioned till November 2011 and a lot more action is required on ground to meet the 2013 target of 1000 MW.
Indian states are making foray into the solar arena and policy frameworks are evolving over the stages of drafting, redefining and finalizing. Table 2 provides a comparative summary of the policy parameters in four out of the six identified states.