BANGALORE, India A top government agency has given conditional approval for billions of dollars in proposed investments in India's National Solar Mission.
India's national solar plan would produce 20,000 megawatts of electricity from solar sources, said Farooq Abdullah, India's federal minister for new and renewable energy. India is among the few countries on Earth with up to 300 days of sunshine annually, making solar energy a viable alternative for this power-starved nation.
Current solar energy production in India totals about 100 megawatts, but the government said Friday (Aug. 7) it will launch a massive education campaign about the benefits and uses of solar energy.
India currently has nine solar cell manufacturers and about 20 module manufacturers. However, it still lacks a domestic supplier of polysilicon and other solar materials as well as a wafer manufacturing capacity.
Manufacturers here such as Tata BP Solar are targeting the export market. Current proposals before the government also appear to be aimed at the export market, according to a position paper released by SEMI India earlier this year.
Proposals before the government include investments totaling about $20 billion for new solar projects, including one by EDA industry veteran Prabhu Goel, to set up manufacturing facilities under a national semiconductor policy unveiled two years ago.
Today's announcement also indicated that regional governments would be the main authorities for approving proposed solar energy projects. The federal government's role would be limited to deciding whether projects are eligible for federal grants or subsidies.
K.C. Krishnadas is site editor of TechOnline India