Government has launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission to encourage large scale use of solar energy technologies in the country. Government has approved a target to set up 1,100 MW grid connected solar plants, including 100 MW capacity plants as rooftop and other small solar power for the first phase of the Mission till March 2013. In addition, a target of 200 MW capacity equivalent off-grid solar applications and 7 million square meter solar thermal collector area were also approved.
Ministry has so far sanctioned 802 MW capacity of grid connected solar projects and 38.5 MW of off-grid solar PV projects. In addition during the year, 5 lakh sq meter of solar thermal collector area has been installed.
An amount of Rs. 360 crore has been allocated for the activities of the Mission during 2010-11.
NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Limited (NVVN) has selected 620 MW capacity grid solar power projects (connected to 33 KV and above) through a tariff discounting process in December, 2010. The successful applicants have proposed to set up projects of 505 MW capacity in Rajasthan, 65 MW in Andhra Pradesh, 20 MW in Gujarat, 10 MW in Karnataka and 5 MW each in Orissa, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh(and Tamil Nadu). The objective of this process was to achieve lowering of tariff for solar power. This process has helped in reduction of tariff by about 30% over the tariff fixed by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission. The projects are to be set up on build, own and operate basis.
In order to spread solar power projects in a number of States, Ministry had announced another scheme to support small grid connected solar power projects of a capacity up to 2 MW (connected to grid below 33 KV). Under this scheme the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) has selected 78 projects to set up 98 MW capacity solar power plants in 12 States. In this scheme, the solar power will be purchased by the concerned state utilities at a rate fixed by the respective State Electricity Regulatory Commissions. The Ministry will provide a generation based incentive to the concerned State utilities to reduce their burden.
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is implementing a scheme to promote off-grid applications of solar energy such as solar lanterns, home lights, other small capacity photovoltaic systems and solar water heating systems with a 30% capital subsidy and/or loan at 5% through NABARD. An amount of Rs. 35 crore has been released in 2010-11 to NABARD to provide funds to the regional rural banks to support solar lighting systems.
The solar energy systems/equipment are directly marketed by the eligible manufacturers/ system integrators. The Ministry has laid down the performance criterion for purchase of such systems.