January 5, 2017

Focus on renewable energy will continue; wind energy & domestic manufacturing of solar panels will also get a boost

By K K Shankar New Delhi, Dec 29 (PTI) Green seems to be the catchword for the government heading into the next year as it gears up to achieve 175 gigawatt of clean energy by 2022 through auction of 1,000 MW of rooftop solar power, Rs 13,000 crore investment in solar parks and a Rs 21,000-crore package to boost local manufacturing of panels.

By all yardsticks, 2016 remains a watershed year when solar tariff slumped to Rs 4 per unit and wind projects received a major thrust. The government is set to switch gears in 2017 to make India a hub for one of the largest installations of clean energy sources by 2022. Minister for New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal offered a glimpse of things to come while speaking to PTI. Scaling up of rooftop solar programme, scheme to encourage domestic manufacturing of solar panels and making wind power affordable through auction of sites all fill up a packed 2017. His ministry has in its sight Rs 1 lakh crore investment for the sector and is looking at 20 GW of power generation from non-conventional sources in 2017-18.

Beginning with speeding up the tempo for solar panel installation at homes, schools and hospitals through subsidies in 2016, plans are afoot to expand the rooftop programme to government buildings by providing target-based incentives. In the November auction of 500 MW, subsidies for installation of as much as 432.7 MW of rooftop solar capacity were lapped up by 122 developers. A fresh tender for one gigawatt (1,000 MW) is now in the works. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government is eyeing generation of 100 GW from solar power alone by 2022. Rooftop solar capacity almost doubled to 1,000 MW in 2016 and the aim is to take this to 40 GW. Also on the table is a green corridor to transmit 2,000 MW of power from 34 solar panels across 21 states.

For good measure, Goyal said, a scheme to promote domestic manufacturing of solar panels will become a reality in 2017. The Rs 21,000-crore module aims to create 5 GW of photovoltaic manufacturing capacity by 2019 and 20 GW by 2026. Indias renewable energy generation capacity stands at 45 GW. According to Goyal, wind power is up next after successful reduction in solar tariff through transparent auction of sites. A mobility scheme is on the anvil to achieve 100 per cent electric vehicle-based transportation for India by 2030, he said without giving out specifics. Early next year, the ministry will organise Global RE- Invest 2017 India-ISA Partnership, the second edition of the bi-ennial Renewable Energy Investors Meet and Expo to bring in investors.

The event will build on RE-Invest 2015 and explore the advances to help meet Indias ultimate target of adding 175 GW renewable energy capacity by 2022.

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