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Planning Commission sets up task force to promote solar energy

According to reports, the Planning Commission has set up a task force, headed by member (energy) B.K. Chaturvedi, to oversee efforts to boost production of solar energy. The panel, which held its first meeting last week, is composed of officials from the ministry of new and renewable energy, the ministry of power and the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), among others.
The 12-member committee also has members from industry bodies like the Confederation of Indian industry (CII) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).

Solar power contributes less than 0.5% of India’s energy mix, a figure the government hopes to raise to 5-7% by 2022. According to the solar energy consulting firm Bridge to India, the country had 1,700 megawatts (MW) of photo voltaic capacity installed by May 2013. The consulting firm estimates that the figure will jump to 12,800 MW by 2016.

The terms of reference of the committee say that it is supposed to suggest policy interventions for improving domestic manufacturing solar energy products, as well as suggest measures to enhance availability of cost-effective finance for solar manufacturers and developers. The committee will also ensure effective implementation/strengthening of the renewable energy certificates mechanism and seek involvement of state governments for solar capacity development.

“The task force will also talk to states as the demand for power is going up,” Chaturvedi said on the sidelines of a conference organised by Ficci on Wednesday.

Vivek Chaturvedi, chief marketing officer at Moser Baer Solar Ltd, said the formation of the committee is a timely initiative. “It is brilliant on constitution with all the right ministries and industry bodies being part of it. We need to have a thriving domestic manufacturing industry to achieve energy security and help save on foreign exchange,” he said.

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