India aims to instal 20 million solar light bulbs

January 11th, 2010 - 5:30 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 11 (IANS) The country plans to instal 20 million solar powered lights and 20 million square metres of solar panel to generate 20,000 MW by 2022 as part of the National Solar Mission launched here Monday.
“By 2022, we aim to instal 20 million square metres of solar thermal collectors in the country and save about 7,500 MW power generation capacity,” said New and Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah at the launch of the mission.

“We want 20 million solar lights to be installed by 2022, which would result in a saving of about one billion litres of kerosene every year,” Abdullah added.

As per official data, of India’s total installed generation capacity of 155.8 GW, renewable energy forms only about 10 percent. Most of this clean power is based on wind, while solar power’s contribution is negligible.

“In the next three years, India plans to add 1,300 MW of solar power, out of which 1,100 MW will be grid-connected and 200 MW will be off-grid. This is our first benchmark. If we achieve this, achieving the remaining target would not be impossible,” the minister said.

A huge constraint in commercial use of solar energy has been its cost.

“Today, the initial cost of solar energy is very high, especially for grid power generation. We aim to bring down the cost as quickly as possible,” he added.

The government also plans to give incentives to state utilities for purchase of solar power.

NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam, the trading arm of thermal energy major NTPC, will purchase solar power, and when state electricity companies buy the power from it — they will get an equivalent amount of thermal power.

“The bundling of more expensive solar power with cheaper thermal power will enable a much cheaper tariff, which is estimated at about Rs.5 or less per unit,” said Abdullah.

“This will also enable states to meet their renewable power purchase obligation,” he added.

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