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Johnson Controls May Seek to Build Solar-Power Plants in India

As readers of Panchabuta are well aware, one of the eight National Missions outlined in National Action Plan on Climate Change, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) specifically focuses on solar energy and its role in minimizing future emissions. The Government has launched JNNSM in January, 2010 with a target of 20,000 MW grid solar power (based on solar thermal power generating systems and solar photovoltaic (SPV) technologies), 2000 MW of off-grid capacity including 20 million solar lighting systems and 20 million sq.m. solar thermal collector area by 2022. The Mission will be implemented in three phases. The first phase will be of three years (upto March, 2013), the second till March 2017 and the third phase will continue till March, 2022.

 Government has also approved the implementation of the first phase of the Mission (upto March, 2013) and the target to set up 1,100 MW grid connected solar plants including 100 MW of roof-top and small solar plants and 200 MW capacity equivalent off-grid solar applications and 7 million sq.m. solar thermal collector area in the first phase of the Mission, till 2012-13.

During 2010-11 the Ministry has selected grid solar power projects of 800 MW capacity. Six major R&D projects in solar thermal and photovoltaic technologies have been sanctioned. National Centre for Photovoltaic Research and Education has been set up at IIT-Bombay.

Apart from this the Indian state of Gujarat that has been in the forefront of Solar energy development has released a state specific solar policy.Gujarat government has set the ambitious target of installing 1,000 Mw solar power capacity by the end of 2012 and 3,000 Mw in next five years. In this regard, the state has already signed PPAs for about 934MW.

The Indian state of Tamil Nadu one of the pioneers in renewable energy and the leader in Wind Energy with about 43% of the installed capacity in India has recently released a Solar Road map for the state.  Further as readers might be aware Tamil Nadu has the third best solar insolation in the country and that varies from 5-5.6 kwhr/sq.m/day.

According to reports, Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI), a U.S. developer of energy-saving technology and hybrid car batteries, may seek to enter India’s solar industry as a plant contractor.

“We think there’s a tremendous opportunity” to engineer, build and operate plants for project developers, Pramoda Karkal, managing director at Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based company’s Indian unit, said in an interview in Mumbai.

Within 20 years, India’s solar sector could create a $50 billion market and rival China’s, Karkal estimated.

“There are thousands and thousands of remote villages in India without a connection to the electricity grid,” he said. “Rather than laying miles of copper lines, it’s cheaper to build a solar plant. That’s why solar will take off quickly here.”

India is trying to pass legislation that would restrict the energy consumed by commercial buildings. If successful, that could create a $500 million market within five years for services in Asia’s third-largest energy consumer, Karkal said.

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