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Indian Prime Minister Launches National Solar Mission

Photonics.com
Jan 2010
Pradeep Chakraborty

Jan. 19, 2010 — Last week, the Union Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, officially launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (NSM) at a solar conference held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.

Organized by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India, in association with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Dr. Singh launched the NSM in the presence of Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Union Minister for New & Renewable Energy; Sharad Pawar, Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution; Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Environment and Forests; and Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Government of India.

The PM hoped that the solar mission will help establish India as a global leader in solar energy, not just in terms of solar power generation, but also in solar manufacturing and generation of this technology. The NSM also has the potential to significantly transform the fortunes of India’s rural economy.

He said: “The rapid spread of solar lighting systems, solar water pumps and other solar power-based rural applications can change the face of India’s rural economy. We intend to significantly expand such applications through this mission. As a result, the movement for decentralized and disbursed industrialization will acquire an added momentum, a momentum which has not been seen before.”

Dr. Singh added: “The role of industry in this mission’s success will be critical. Eventually, if the ambitious roll out of the mission is to become a living reality, we will have to create many ‘Solar Valleys’ on the lines of the Silicon Valleys that are spurring our IT industry across the four corners of our country.”

Indeed, plans are afoot to create multiple solar valleys across the country. States, such as Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal, Orissa, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, etc., are being very aggressive in their plans to make solar the next big revolution in India.

In his keynote, Dr. Farooq Abdullah said: “This mission is named after India’s first and visionary Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. For him, India’s development needed to be anchored in its mastery over cutting-edge technologies. The Solar Mission is very much in line with his vision, which has made India today a leading nuclear and space power. He would have been equally keen and proud to see India attaining the same level of advancement in solar energy. I am confident that, under the leadership of our Hon’ble Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, we shall make India a global solar power as well.”

The focal point, for the next three years, will be the NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN), the power trading arm of the NTPC. NVVN will purchase solar power at rates fixed by the Central Regulatory Electricity Commission (CERC) and for a period specified by the latter.

As of now, the industry is awaiting the rates.

Pradeep

Jan. 19, 2010


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