Government of India has recently launched the ambitious Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission which aims to promote the development and use of solar energy for power generation and other uses in the country. This Mission is one of the eight key National Missions which comprise India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change.
The mission has a twin objective - to contribute to India's long term energy security as well as its ecological security.
The Solar Mission would be implemented in 3 stages leading up to an installed capacity of 20,000 MW by the end of the 13th Five Year Plan in 2022. It is envisaged that as a result of rapid scale up as well as technological developments, the price of solar power will attain parity with grid power at the end of the Mission, enabling accelerated and large-scale expansion thereafter.
Mission will establish a single window investor-friendly mechanism, which reduces risk and at the same time, provides an attractive, predictable and sufficiently extended tariff for the purchase of solar power for the grid.
The focal point for the grid connected utility scale power plants, for the Phase 1 of the Mission, will be the NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN), which is the power trading arm of the NTPC. Government has designated it for the purchase of solar power generated by independent solar power producers, at rates fixed by the Central Regulatory Electricity Commission and for a period specified by the latter
The mission includes a major initiative for promoting rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) applications. The solar tariff announced by the regulators will be applicable for such installations. The power distribution companies will be involved in purchase of this power.
The mission would have a 'much focussed R&D programme’ which seeks to address the India-specific challenges in promoting solar energy.
Solar Mission targets are:
- To create an enabling policy framework for the deployment of 20,000 MW of solar power by 2022.
- To ramp up capacity of grid-connected solar power generation to 1000 MW within three years – by 2013; an additional 3000 MW by 2017 through the mandatory use of the renewable purchase obligation by utilities backed with a preferential tariff. This capacity can be more than doubled – reaching 10,000MW installed power by 2017 or more, based on the enhanced and enabled international finance and technology transfer. The ambitious target for 2022 of 20,000 MW or more, will be dependent on the ‘learning’ of the first two phases, which if successful, could lead to conditions of grid-competitive solar power. The transition could be appropriately up scaled, based on availability of international finance and technology.
- To create favourable conditions for solar manufacturing capability, particularly solar thermal for indigenous production and market leadership.
- To promote programs for off grid applications, reaching 1000 MW by 2017 and 2000 MW by 2022.
- To achieve 15 million square meters solar thermal collector area by 2017 and 20 million square meters solar thermal collector area by 2022.
- To deploy 20 million solar lighting systems for rural areas by 2022.
The Mission underlines the Government’s intention to give a boost to solar energy and is a purposeful step by India towards climate change mitigation“.
The Solar Mission forms a part of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). An analysis done by Greenpeace shows that the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission plan could ensure an annual reduction of 434 million tons of CO2 emissions every year by 2050 based on the assumption that solar will replace fossil fuels.
- CERC has announced preferential tariff of Rs. 18.44 per unit for solar PV power and Rs. 13.45 per unit for solar thermal power for 25 years;
- Zero or concessional duty applicable on import of certain specific items;
- Zero Excise duty on domestic manufacture of many solar energy devices and systems;
- NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam will purchase solar power for a period of 25 years at a fixed tariff announced by CERC;
- CERC will review the costs every year and fix tariff accordingly for new projects.