Solar projects a priority for India9th Jan 2012
India is emerging as one of the solar leaders of 2012, tackling a range of projects across the country - including four solar parks for the state of Rajasthan.
Speaking at the solar energy session on the first day of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (January 7) - a conference that recognises the contribution of the overseas Indian community to the development of the nation - chief minister Ashok Gehlot announced the new projects as part of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.
"Solar parks of 1,000 megawatt capacity will be set up in Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Barmer," he said.
"These enclaves will consist of various zones for activities like manufacturing, research and development, and training."
The National Solar Mission looks to establish solar energy projects with support from both national and state levels of government.
According to state officials, not only is Rajasthan is capable of producing 300,000 megawatts of energy in an area of 15,000 square kilometres but it also hopes to harness more than 20 gigawatts of solar power by 2022.
Deepak Gupta, former secretary at the ministry of new and renewable energy told the conference that investment in solar energy projects is increasing.
"The prospect of solar energy as an alternate source of energy is immense. This sector will hopefully see huge growth in the years to come," he explained.
Minister of state for finance Namo Narain Meena believes that India is the third most favoured nation for investing in solar energy projects.
"There are only two other nations which are seen as more attractive for making investments in solar energy initiatives - the US and China," he also told the conference.
The potential for future projects is further highlighted by the announcement of the completion of one of India's largest installations in the coming weeks.
Financed by the State Bank of India, the 25 megawatt initiative features more than 100,000 polycrystalline solar panels - along with 73 units of indoor converters - in an area totalling 50 hectares.
Dr Alex Levran, president of Renewable Energy Solutions at renewable energy provider Power-One, was impressed with the development.
"This project is another example of how Power-One is helping India's solar economy to grow," he said (January 6).
Posted by Mike Peacock - Solar correspondent