GS (M) Paper-3: “Infrastructure: Energy”
Expansion of Solar Power Capacity
Recently, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the enhancement of capacity from 20,000 MW to 40,000 MW of the Scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects.
Implications of the move:
- It is among the most efficient means to meet the commitment under the Paris Agreement on climate change, i.e., to keep carbon emissions in check.
- It can create additional employment with economic dividends.
- Recent report suggests jobs in solar energy have witnessed the fastest growth since 2011.
- Asia has harnessed the potential the most by providing 60% of all renewable energy employment.
What the government should do?
- India should also take a look at manufacturing of photovoltaics.
- It should open training facilities to produce the human resources the industry will need in future.
- Low-cost financing channels can quickly augment the solar generating capacity.
- Electricity regulators should fix tariffs taking into account the reduction in the levelised cost of electricity.
- Other funding options like green bonds are also be necessary.
- Without realistic purchase prices, i.e. the price an investor pays for an investment, curtailment of renewable power sources happens because of some non-technical considerations. It directly affects investments.
- Tamil Nadu, the largest producer of solar energy in the country, resorted to curtailments last year that has muted interest in the industry itself.
- Besides promoting phase two of the solar parks plan, and powering public facilities using solar power, the Centre should make it easier for citizens and small business to adopt rooftop solar.
- This is crucial for achieving the goal of 100 GW, and also to raise the share of renewables in the total energy mix to 40% in the next decade.
About the scheme:
The scheme for “Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects” has been rolled out by Ministry of New & Renewable Energy in 2014.
- The Scheme has been conceived on the lines of the “Charanka Solar Park” in Gujarat which is a first-of-its-kind large scale Solar Park in India with contiguous developed land and transmission connectivity.
- The scheme aims to provide a huge impetus to solar energy generation by acting as a flagship demonstration facility to encourage project developers and investors, prompting additional projects of similar nature, triggering economies of scale for cost-reductions, technical improvements and achieving large scale reductions in GHG emissions.
- This scheme envisages supporting the States in setting up solar parks at various locations in the country with a view to create required infrastructure for setting up of Solar Power Projects.
- The solar parks will provide suitable developed land with all clearances, transmission system, water access, road connectivity, communication network, etc.
- This scheme will facilitate and speed up installation of grid connected solar power projects for electricity generation on a large scale.
- Under this scheme, it is proposed to set up at least 25 Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects targeting over 20,000 MW of solar power installed capacity within a span of 5 years starting from 2014-15.
[Ref: The Hindu]