Within 5 years every Indian home will be lit by solar, Indian government official announces

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22 May 2014

NEW DELHI: India’s new government anticipates that by 2019 at least one light bulb in every home will run on solar power, Bloomberg news agency has reported.

With 400 million Indian citizens unable to access electricity, new Prime Minister Narendra Modi is keen to harness the power of solar energy. Over the past three years the production cost of the alternative energy has dropped 61% in India, making it an attractive alternative to fossil fuel.

“We look upon solar as having the potential to completely transform the way we look at the energy space,” explained Narendra Taneja, convener of the energy division of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.

To achieve the 2019 target the government will design and implement a number of policies ranging from larger, grid-connected photovoltaic projects to smaller solar initiatives. However, for the 2019 light bulb goal to be feasible, the government will need the support of state-level administrations who share control over the power industry, the official added.

Solar power has received significant state support in recent years. In 2010, the previous government introduced the National Solar Mission which set a target of 20,000 MW of solar power by 2022, and in February of this year, India unveiled a new Memorandum of Understanding for a 4 gigawatts solar power plant which, when operational, could triple the country’s solar capacity.

Furthermore, according to the Economic Times of India, the Indian Government may introduce a dumping duty on solar imports in a move which would strengthen the position of domestic solar manufacturers. However, a rise in import duties could drive up the cost of solar for Indian citizens, Jarnail Singh, India Program Manager at The Climate Group, warned.

“While it is a great measure towards boosting Indian solar manufacturing industry, it appears to be a punitive and protective measure in light of the existing National Solar Mission. Increasing the import duties would essentially mean an additional cost on solar energy for the end consumer in the absence of a compensatory subsidy.”

“Investment in solar energy offers Indian citizens real control over power and productivity, it is vital that our new government recognize this and support it”, Mr. Singh affirmed.

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By Alana Ryan

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