Solar power in India
India is densely populated and has high solar insolation, an ideal combination for using solar power in India. India is already a leader in wind power generation. In the solar energy sector, some large projects have been proposed, and a 35,000 km2 area of the Thar Desert has been set aside for solar power projects, sufficient to generate 700 GW to 2,100 GW. Also India's Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has released the JNNSM Phase 2 Draft Policy, by which the Government aims to install 10GW of Solar Power and of this 10 GW target, 4 GW would fall under the central scheme and the remaining 6 GW under various State specific schemes.
In July 2009, India unveiled a US$19 billion plan to produce 20 GW of solar power by 2020. Under the plan, the use of solar-powered equipment and applications would be made compulsory in all government buildings, as well as hospitals and hotels. On 18 November 2009, it was reported that India was ready to launch its National Solar Mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change, with plans to generate 1,000 MW of power by 2013. From August 2011 to July 2012, India went from 2.5 MW of grid connected photovoltaics to over 1,000 MW.
According to a 2011 report by BRIDGE TO INDIA and GTM Research, India is facing a perfect storm of factors that will drive solar photovoltaic (PV) adoption at a "furious pace over the next five years and beyond". The falling prices of PV panels, mostly from China but also from the U.S., has coincided with the growing cost of grid power in India. Government support and ample solar resources have also helped to increase solar adoption, but perhaps the biggest factor has been need. India, "as a growing economy with a surging middle class, is now facing a severe electricity deficit that often runs between 10 and 13 percent of daily need".
Current status 
With about 300 clear, sunny days in a year, India's theoretical solar power reception, on only its land area, is about 5000 Petawatt-hours per year (PWh/yr) (i.e. 5000 trillion kWh/yr or about 600 TW). The daily average solar energy incident over India varies from 4 to 7 kWh/m2 with about 1500–2000 sunshine hours per year (depending upon location), which is far more than current total energy consumption. For example, assuming the efficiency of PV modules were as low as 10%, this would still be a thousand times greater than the domestic electricity demand projected for 2015.
Installed capacity 
The amount of solar energy produced in India in 2007 was less than 1% of the total energy demand. The grid-interactive solar power as of December 2010 was merely 10 MW. Government-funded solar energy in India only accounted for approximately 6.4 MW-yr of power as of 2005. However, India is ranked number one in terms of solar energy production per watt installed, with an insolation of 1,700 to 1,900 kilowatt hours per kilowatt peak (kWh/KWp). 25.1 MW was added in 2010 and 468.3 MW in 2011. By the end of March 2013 the installed grid connected photovoltaics had increased to 1686.44 MW,and India expects to install an additional 10,000 MW by 2017, and a total of 20,000 MW by 2022.
|Name of Plant||DC Peak Power
|Charanka Solar Park - Charanka village, Patan district, Gujarat ||221||April 19, 2012 Commissioned April 2012|
|Mithapur Solar Power Plant (Tata Power) - Mithapur, Gujarat ||25||January 25, 2012 Commissioned 25 January 2012|
|Waa Solar Power Plant (Madhav Power) - Surendranagar, Gujarat ||10||December 2011 Commissioned December 2011|
|Dhirubhai Ambani Solar Park, Pokhran, Rajasthan ||40||April 2012 Commissioned in April 2012|
|Bitta Solar Power Plant (Adani Power) - Bitta, Kutch District, Gujarat ||40||January 2012 Commissioned January 2012|
|Mahindra & Mahindra Solar Plant, Jodhpur, Rajasthan ||5||January 2012 Completed in January 2012|
|Rasna Marketing Services LLP, Ahmedabad, Gujarat ||1||December 2011 Completed in December 2011|
|Sivaganga Photovoltaic Plant, Tamil Nadu ||5||December 2010 Completed December 2010|
|Kolar Photovoltaic Plant, Yalesandra, Kolar District, Karnataka ||3||May 2010 Completed May 2010|
|Itnal Photovoltaic Plant, Belgaum, Karnataka ||3||April 2010 Completed April 2010|
|Azure Power - Ahwan Photovoltaic Plant, Punjab ||2||December 2009 December 2009|
|Citra and Sepset Power Plants, Katol, Maharashtra ||4||October 2011 Commissioned October 2011|
|Jamuria Photovoltaic Plant, West Bengal ||2||August 2009 August 2009|
|NDPC Photovoltaic Plant, Delhi ||1||2010 2010|
|Thyagaraj stadium Plant - Delhi ||1||April 2010 April 2010|
|Gandhinagar Solar Plant, Gujarat ||1||January 21, 2011 21 January 2011|
|Tata Power - Mulshi, Maharashtra ||3||April 2011 Commissioned April 2011|
|Azure Power - Sabarkantha, Khadoda village, Gujarat ||10||June 2011 Commissioned June 2011, 63 acres, using 36,000 Suntech Power panels.|
|Moser Baer - Patan, Gujarat ||30||October 2011 Commissioned October 2011|
|B&G Solar Pvt Ltd - Mayiladuthurai, Tamil Nadu ||1||June 2011 India's First plant Commissioned under JNNSM scheme 10 June 2011|
|REHPL - Sadeipali, (Bolangir) Orissa ||1||July 2011 Commissioned July 2011|
|Tata Power - Patapur, Orissa ||1||August 2011 Commissioned August 2011|
|Orissa - Patapur, Orissa ||9||August 2011 August 2012|
|Tata Power - Osmanabad, Maharastra ||1||August 1, 2011 Commissioned 1 August 2011|
|Amruth Solar Power Plant - Kadiri, Andhra Pradesh||1||March 2012 Commissioned March 2012|
|IIT Bombay - Gwal Pahari, Haryana ||3||September 26, 2011 Commissioned 26 September 2011|
|Chandraleela Power Energy - Narnaul, Haryana ||0.8||January 15, 2012 Commissioned 15 January 2012, (EPC by Aryav Green Energy Solutions Pvt. Ltd.)|
|Green Infra Solar Energy Limited - Rajkot, Gujarat ||10||November 29, 2011 Commissioned November 2011|
|TAL Solar Power Plant - Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh ||2||December 2011 Commissioned January 2012|
|Numeric Power Systems, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu ||1||Commissioned February 2012|
|Zynergy, Vannankulam village, Peraiyur, Madurai district, Tamil Nadu ||1||Commissioned January 2012|
Solar power in Gujarat 
Gujarat has been a leader in solar power generation and contributes 2/3rd of the 900 MW of photovoltaics in the country. The State has commissioned Asia’s biggest solar park at Charanka village. The park is already generating 214 MW solar power out of its total planned capacity of 500 MW. The park has been functioning on a multi-developers and multi-beneficiaries paradigm and has been awarded for being the most innovative and environment-friendly project by the CII.
With a view to make Gandhinagar a solar city, the State government has launched a roof-top solar power generation scheme. Under this scheme, the State plans to generate five megawatt of solar power by putting solar panels on about 50 state government buildings and on 500 private buildings. The State has also a plan to emulate this project in Rajkot, Surat, Bhavnagar and Vadodara in 2012-13.
The State plans to generate solar power by putting solar panels on the Narmada canal branches. As a part of this scheme, the State has already commissioned a one megawatt solar plant on a branch of the Narmada Canal near Chandrasan area of Anand taluka. This also helps by stopping 90,000 liter water/year of the Narmada river from evaporating.
Solar power in Rajasthan 
Next to Gujarat, Rajasthan is India's sunniest state, and many solar projects have been proposed. The 40 MW photovoltaic Dhirubhai Ambani Solar Park was completed in April 2012. A 250 MW compact linear fresnel reflector (CLFR) plant is under construction, consisting of two 125 MW sections.
Solar power in Maharastra 
The Shri Sai Baba Sansthan Trust has world's largest solar steam system. It was constructed at the Shirdi shrine at an estimated cost of Rs.1.33 crore, Rs.58.4 lakh of which was paid as a subsidy by the renewable energy ministry. The system is used to cook 50,000 meals per day for pilgrims visiting the shrine, resulting in annual savings of 100,000 kg of cooking gas and has been designed to generate steam for cooking even in the absence of electricity to run the feed water pump for circulating water in the system. The project to install and commission the system was completed in seven months and the system has a design life of 25 years.
Rural electrification 
Lack of electricity infrastructure is one of the main hurdles in the development of rural India. India's grid system is considerably under-developed, with major sections of its populace still surviving off-grid. As of 2004 there are about 80,000 unelectrified villages in the country. Of these villages, 18,000 could not be electrified through extension of the conventional grid. A target for electrifying 5,000 such villages was set for the Tenth National Five Year Plan (2002–2007). As of 2004, more than 2,700 villages and hamlets had been electrified, mainly using solar photovoltaic systems. Developments in cheap solar technology are considered as a potential alternative that allows an electricity infrastructure consisting of a network of local-grid clusters with distributed electricity generation. It could allow bypassing (or at least relieving) the need to install expensive, lossy, long-distance, centralised power delivery systems and yet bring cheap electricity to the masses.
Solar lamps and lighting 
By 2012 46,00,000 solar lanterns and 861,654 solar powered home lights have been installed. These typically replace kerosene lamps and can be purchased for the cost of a few months worth of kerosene through a small loan. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is offering a 30% to 40% subsidy for the cost of lanterns, home lights and small systems up to 210 Wp. 20 million solar lamps are expected by 2022.
Agricultural support 
Solar PV water pumping systems are used for irrigation and drinking water. The majority of the pumps are fitted with a 200–3,000 watt motor that are powered with 1,800 Wp PV array which can deliver about 140,000 liters of water per day from a total head of 10 meters. By 30 September 2006, a total of 7,068 solar PV water pumping systems had been installed, and by March 2012, 7,771 had been installed.
Solar driers are used to dry harvests before storage.
Solar water heaters 
Bangalore is also the first city in the country to put in place an incentive mechanism by providing a rebate of 50 on monthly electricity bills for residents using roof-top thermal systems. These systems are now mandatory for all new structures.
Pune, another city in the western part of India, has also recently made installation of solar water heaters in new buildings mandatory.
Challenges and opportunities 
Land is a scarce resource in India and per capita land availability is low. Dedication of land area for exclusive installation of solar arrays might have to compete with other necessities that require land. The amount of land required for utility-scale solar power plants—currently approximately 1 km2 for every 20–60 megawatts (MW) generated—could pose a strain on India's available land resource. The architecture more suitable for most of India would be a highly distributed set of individual rooftop power generation systems, all connected via a local grid. However, erecting such an infrastructure, which does not enjoy the economies of scale possible in mass, utility-scale, solar panel deployment, needs the market price of solar technology deployment to substantially decline, so that it attracts the individual and average family size household consumer. That might be possible in the future, because PV is projected to continue its current cost reductions for the next decades and be able to compete with fossil fuel.
Some noted think-tanks recommend that India should adopt a policy of developing solar power as a dominant component of the renewable energy mix, since being a densely populated region in the sunny tropical belt, the subcontinent has the ideal combination of both high solar insolation and therefore a big potential consumer base density. In one of the analyzed scenarios, India can make renewable resources such as solar the backbone of its economy by 2050, reining in its long-term carbon emissions without compromising its economic growth potential.
Government support 
51 Solar Radiation Resource Assessment stations have been installed across India by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to monitor the availability of solar energy. Data is collected and reported to the Centre for Wind Energy Technology (C-WET), in order to create a Solar Atlas.
The government of India is promoting the use of solar energy through various strategies. In the latest budget for 2010/11, the government has announced an allocation of 10 billion (US$183.0 million) towards the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission and the establishment of a clean energy fund. It is an increase of 3.8 billion (US$69.5 million) from the previous budget. This new budget has also encouraged private solar companies by reducing customs duty on solar panels by 5% and exempting excise duty on solar photovoltaic panels. This is expected to reduce the cost of a roof-top solar panel installation by 15–20%. The budget also proposed a coal tax of US$1 per metric ton on domestic and imported coal used for power generation. Additionally, the government has initiated a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) scheme, which is designed to drive investment in low-carbon energy projects.
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy provides 70 percent subsidy on the installation cost of a solar photovoltaic power plant in North-East states and 30 percentage subsidy on other regions. The detailed outlay of the National Solar Mission highlights various targets set by the government to increase solar energy in the country's energy portfolio.
Reeling under an acute power crises, the Government of Tamil Nadu has recently unveiled its new Solar Energy Policy which aims at increasing the installed solar capacity from the current approximate of 20 MW to over 3000 MW by 2015. The policy aims at fixing a 6% solar energy requirement on industries and residential buildings for which incentives in the form of tax rebates and current tariff rebates of up to Rs.1 / unit will be applicable to those who comply with the Solar Energy Policy. The policy also gives an option to those industries/buildings who do not want to install rooftop solar photo-voltaic systems to invest in the government's policy and be given the same incentives as explained above.
See also 
- Electricity sector in India
- Renewable energy in India
- Wind power in India
- Gujarat Solar Park
- Sakri PV solar energy project
- Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission
- Dhirubhai Ambani Solar Park
- Canal Solar Power Project
- Index of solar energy articles
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