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National Solar Mission Phase II policy to be announced in a month

According to reports, the basic contours of the policy for the Phase II of the National Solar Mission will be announced in a month’s time, according to Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

Under this phase, the Government of India intends to engender the creation of 3,000 MW of solar power capacity, in batches.

Speaking at the Sixth Renewable Energy India 2012 Expo here, Kapoor said that all means of financing the ‘feed-in tariff’ would be used, including viability-gap funding, generation-based incentives and bundling of solar power with conventional power that has not been earmarked for sales under any power purchase agreements, so that the weighted average cost of the ‘bundled’ power becomes affordable to the electricity distribution companies.

Speaking to Business Line later, Kapoor said that there would be measures to encourage local manufacture of solar modules too, but that would be “different”, because the steps taken to develop local manufacture “did not help the local industry.” (In the Phase I, the government made it mandatory for local purchase of crystalline silicon modules, but such a stipulation did not apply for ‘thin film’ based modules, because thin film modules are not produced in India. As a result, most of the project developers imported ‘thin film’ modules.)

The second phase will also give a big push to off-grid solar applications. There will be “changes in the off-grid scheme to make it simpler.” Further, use of solar power for heating will be encouraged.

“Grid connected rooftop projects are most important for us,” Kapoor said. A 10 MW pilot project will soon be launched, which will be spread over 5-6 locations.

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