India’s Ambitious National Solar Mission
Despite a huge population and massive economic growth, India remainsone of the least carbon intensive countries in the world and far belowAustralia’s per capita emission rate, which is one of the highest inthe world.
Even so, India is considering embarking on an ambitious renewableenergyplan, known as the National Solar Mission. The National Solar Missionis not just about addressing greenhouse gas emissions, but providingcost-effective energy solutions to meet rapidly growing electricitydemand; a demand so great already that blackouts are not uncommon inthe country.
Currently, India has diesel generation capacity of 20-25 gigawatts toaddress peak power shortages and it’s projected that the shortfall mayreach 60 GW by 2020. Given the high costs of diesel power generation,use ofgridconnect solar poweris considered quite competitive for distributedgeneration on a large scale. Cost of transmission and distributionwould be negligible since these solar power plants would already beconnected to the grid via the residential, commercial and publicbuildings where they would be installed.
As part of the Mission, it will also become compulsory for allhospitals, guest houses, hotels, nursing homes residential complexeswith a minimum area of 500 square meters to install solar hot watersystems.40-50 million sq. metres of roof area is currently estimated to beavailable for installation of solar collectors for hot waterapplications throughout the country.
The Mission would also expand current solar lighting programs toprovide access to lighting for an additional 3 million households by2012 in urban and rural areas. Solar charging stations are alsoproposed for solar lanterns currently being distributed in rural areas.
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