PM launches Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission

Solar+India PM launches Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission

Dr. Manmohan Singh, the PrimeMinister of India, today launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National SolarMission at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. Here is his speech.

“Iam very happy to be here today to launch the highly innovativeJawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission under the brand name “SolarIndia”. This National Solar Mission has the pride of place in India’sNational Action Plan on Climate Change. ThePrime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh at the launch of the JawaharlalNehru National Solar Mission – Solar India, in New Delhi on January 11,2010.

Its success has the potential of transformingIndia’s energy prospects, and contributing also to national as well asglobal efforts to combat climate change. This Mission is one of themajor priorities of the second term of our government and Icongratulate Dr. Abdullah and my other colleagues particularly ShriShyam Saran, for the work they have done in bringing this to fruition.

Increaseduse of solar energy is a central component of our strategy to bringabout a strategic shift from our current reliance on fossil fuels to apattern of sustainable growth based on renewable and clean sources ofenergy. I sincerely hope that this solar Mission will also establishIndia as a global leader in solar energy, not just in terms of solarpower generation but also in solar manufacturing and generation of thistechnology.

The importance of this Mission is not just limitedto providing large-scale grid connected power. It has the potential toprovide significant multipliers in our efforts for transformation ofIndia’s rural economy. Already, in its decentralized and distributedapplications, solar energy is beginning to light the lives of tens ofmillions of India’s energy-poor citizens.

The rapid spread ofsolar lighting systems, solar water pumps and other solar power-basedrural applications can change the face of India’s rural economy. Weintend to significantly expand such applications through this Mission.As a result, the movement for decentralized and disbursedindustrialization will acquire an added momentum, a momentum which hasnot been seen before.

The target of 20,000 MW of solargenerating capacity by the end of the 13th Five Year Plan is no doubtan ambitious target. But I do sincerely believe that the target isdoable and that we should work single-mindedly to achieve it as apriority national endeavor.

The carefully crafted regulatory andincentive framework that has been unveiled today has several innovativefeatures. We expect that it will lead to a rapid scale up of capacity.This will encourage technological innovation and generate economies ofscale, thereby leading to a steady lowering of costs. Once parity withconventional power tariff is achieved, there will be no technologicalor economic constraint to the rapid and large-scale expansion of solarpower thereafter.

Clearly, technological innovation will be akey factor in ensuring the success of this Mission. We will need tofind ways of reducing the space intensity of current solarapplications, including through the use of nano-technology.Cost-effective and convenient storage of solar energy beyond daylighthours will be critical to its emergence as a mainstream source ofpower. In the meantime, we may need to explore hybrid solutions,combining solar power generation with gas, biomass or even coal-basedpower.

It was the vision of Prime Minister Pandit JawaharlalNehru that enabled India to create world-class scientific andtechnological capacities in the field of atomic energy and spacesectors. It is these strengths in science and technology thateventually have created the Information Technology revolution in Indiaand made it a global power. I am convinced that solar energy can alsobe the next scientific and technological frontier in India after AtomicEnergy, Space and Information Technology.

There exists in ourcountry immense talent and research capabilities already engaged in thesolar energy field both in the private and public sectors. It is clearthat a large number of Ministries and authorities will have to work intandem if we are to make a success of this important Mission. The SolarMission should evolve as a single national platform for coordinationamong our scientific, industrial and regulatory establishments in asynergetic manner.

I am happy that the Federation of IndianChambers of Commerce and Industry has been associated with this event.The role of industry in this Mission’s success will be critical.Eventually, if the ambitious roll out of the Mission is to become aliving reality, we will have to create many ‘Solar Valleys’ on thelines of the Silicon Valleys that are spurring our IT industry acrossthe four corners of our country.

These valleys will becomehubs for solar science, solar engineering and solar research,fabrication and manufacturing. I urge Indian industry to see theNational Solar Mission as the huge business opportunity that it isgoing to be.

The Sun has long been recognized as a primal sourceof all energy on earth. In an ancient civilization like India, the Sunhas been worshipped as the God who bestows life and sustains it. Thebounty of the Sun is truly inexhaustible, renewable and free. It is tothis source of energy that humankind must turn to meet the twinchallenge of energy security and climate change.

With these words, I wish the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission every success.”