India can be leader in solar power: PM

By SiliconIndia   |    5 Comments
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New Delhi: To make his country a global leader in solar power, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh laid out ambitious plans and launched a government initiative to boost use of the technology, reports AFP.

Solar can help secure India's energy independence and tackle climate change, Singh said, as well as offering new opportunities for industry in a country with a crippling shortage of power. The National Solar Mission, could "establish India as a global leader in solar energy" in the areas of power generation and technology production, Singh told business leaders and government officials.

"The rapid spread of solar lighting systems, solar water pumps and other solar power-based rural applications can change the face of our rural energy sector," Singh said. The Solar Mission has the goal of increasing solar energy capacity exponentially to reach 20,000 megawatts for the year 2022, reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

That amount would provide enough power for 20 million homes, with each receiving one kilowatt of power. Government figures show approximately 80,000 impoverished Indian villages have no access to grid electricity.

The Prime Minister said India boasted some of the world's greatest science and techology minds and they had revolutionised atomic energy, space and information technology. "I am convinced that solar energy can be the next scientific and industrial frontier in India," Singh said.

Indian companies which could benefit from the push include Tata BP solar, which is a joint venture between Tata Power and BP Solar and one of India's leading solar energy distributors. India produces more than 15,000 megawatts of power from all renewable sources, according to the MNRE, with more than 10,000 megawatts from wind power alone.

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