More Power to Solar Plans
Tehelka|January 31 2017

As the sun shines 300 days in a year, proper utilisation of solar power could undoubtedly light up millions of houses without availability to conventional power across the country.

Pari Saikia

India’s rural electrification scenario is still in a weak position, thereby, impacting the lives of millions of villag-ers who continue to live in the dark. Even after 70 years of Independence, 100 per cent access to energy by inaccessible regions has not been met. The colossal demand for power exceeds the amount of electricity produced in India.

Going by the record, India’s eight million people or more, are still heavily dependent on firewood, dung cake, kerosene and the like as an alternative source to electricity. The new government is claiming to have achieved groundbreaking progress in taking electricity to the country’s inaccessible areas, hoping to reach 100 per cent electricity access to all by 2019-end.

Placing of grid connection is not feasible due to certain factors such as geographical location, fallible transport connectivity, unfavourable climatic conditions, poor infrastructure, militant threat and others. However, as the sun in India shines for 300 days a year, the utilisation of solar energy could undoubtedly light up deprived houses in every state of India. As the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) states “Around 5,000 trillion kWh per year solar energy is received by India land area with most parts receiving 4 kWh to 7 kWh per square metre per day,” solar could well shine up every nook and corner of the country.

So far 11,429 villages have been electrified out of the 18,452 villages that have no access to electricity. Keeping in mind the country’s ambitious target of “powering 60 million homes by 2022,” all the 29 states have embarked on ambitious solar energy path. Amongst them, states such as Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh contribute 80 per cent to solar energy growth story in India and the rest 23 states contribute a mere 20 per cent to it. It is also pertinent to note that the solar potential states such as Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka, one of the largest power-consuming states in India have also started doing well in the area of solar energy.

Besides,34 solar parks with a capacity 20,000 MW in 21 states have been sanctioned and 90,710 solar pumps have been installed throughout the country for rural progress.

As of September last, capacity addition of 3,019 MW of solar energy was recorded during the year 201516 thus taking India’s cumulative solar achievement to 8,728 MW.

All the solar-rich states have been playing a pivotal role under various government missions, policy, regulations and schemes. For the success of renewable energy target of 175 GW by 2022, major programmes and schemes on implementation of solar park, Solar Defence Scheme, Solar Scheme for CPUs Solar PV power plants on Canal Bank and Canal Tops, Solar Pump and Solar Rooftops have been launched during the past two years.

Following are the Indian states with solar make-over: Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu leads the race of solar capacity addition table with an installed capacity of 1,555.41 MW as on September 31, 2016 (grid connected solar projects). With the inauguration of the world’s single-largest solar power plant of 648 MW at Kamuthi in Ramanathapuram district, Tamil Nadu has outpaced Rajasthan, which was a dominant solar leader state.

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