Not only is India is one of the fastest growing countries in the world, they are also becoming a leader in the field of green energy. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh drafted the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), which specifies eight different missions to promote development objectives that would also address climate change. The first of these eight missions, the National Solar Mission (NSM) was approved in November 2009. This mission calls for 20GW of solar capacity in India by 2020 and eventually resulting in 200GW by 2050. Other missions within the NAPCC include: Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency, Mission on Sustainable Habitat, Water Mission, Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem, Mission for a “Green India”, Mission for Sustainable Agriculture and Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change.
While the NAPCC outlines these eight missions, the NSM is the only one that has been approved. This mission is broken down into three, with each step spanning around four years, the first of which calls for 1GW by 2013, increase production of photovoltaics to 1000mW/year and deploying at least 1000 MW of solar thermal power generation. Currently there are four hundred million Indian citizens that do not have access to electricity because the majority of India is powered by coal. Solar power would not only create more jobs within the country, but would also spark the country’s development and end power cuts across the nation. The scale of the solar project is huge and requires 20 million square-meters of photovoltaic panels (roughly 7.5 square miles).
Just building the photovoltaic cells are not enough, the energy also has to be affordable, and that’s where the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) comes in. The ministry is offering subsidies for renewable energy to bring the cost per kW/hr down. In fact, the government will provide a 55 cent subsidy on home and business solar installations as well as bringing down wind energy a half a rubee per kW/hr. Estimated cost of implementing the National Solar Mission alone is $19 billion. On top of the photovoltaic cells themselves, India also plans on improving the power grid and has put aside $200 billion to build a cleaner, more efficient Smart Grid by 2015. But just having the money is not enough. According to Siddharth Pathak, climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace India, “India needs international support. The industrialized world needs to come up with solid proposals on technology and finance to help developing countries deliver on ambitious plans like this one”.
India is making a huge step in pushing renewable energy, and the government’s passion and focus is resonating worldwide. With the help of other countries as well as the support of the Indian people and government officials, India can become a leader in renewable energy.