More power to solar plans


l2015062967058India’s rural electrification scenario is still in a weak
position, thereby, impacting the lives of millions of villagers who continue to live in the dark. Even after 70 years of Independence, 100 per cent access to energy by inaccessible regions has not been met. The colossal demand for power exceeds the amount of electricity produced in India.

Going by the record, India’s eight million people or more, are still heavily dependent on firewood, dung cake, kerosene and the like as an alternative source to electricity. The new government is claiming to have achieved groundbreaking progress in taking electricity to the country’s inaccessible areas, hoping to reach 100 per cent electricity
access to all by 2019-end.

Placing of grid connection is not feasible due to certain factors such as geographical location, fallible transport connectivity,unfavourable climatic conditions, poor infrastructure, militant threat and others. However, as the sun inIndia shines for 300 days a year, the utilisation of solar energy could undoubtedly light up deprived houses in every state of India. As the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) states “Around 5,000 trillion kWh per year solar energy is received by India land area with most parts receiving 4 kWh to 7 kWh per square metre per day,”solar could well shine up every nook and corner of the country.

So far 11,429 villages have been electrified out of the 18,452 villages that have no access to electricity. Keeping in mind the country’s ambitious target of “powering
60 million homes by 2022,” all the 29 states have embarked on ambitious solar energy path. Amongst them, states such as Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh contribute 80 per cent to solar energy growth story in India and the rest 23 states contribute a mere 20 per cent to it. It is also pertinent to note that the solar potential states such as Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka, one of the largest power-consuming states in India have
also started doing well in the area of solar energy.

All the solar-rich states have been given a vital role under various govt missions, policies schemes and regulations

Besides,34 solar parks with a capacity 20,000 MW in 21 states have been sanctioned and 90,710 solar pumps have been installed throughout the country for rural progress.
As of September last, capacity addition of 3,019 MW of solar energy was recorded during the year 2015-16 thus taking India’s cumulativesolar achievement to 8,728 MW. All the solar-rich states have been playing a pivotal role under various government missions, policy, regulations and schemes. For the success of renewable energy target of 175 GW by 2022, major programmes and schemes on implementation of solar park, Solar Defence Scheme, Solar Scheme for CPUs Solar PV power plants on Canal Bank and Canal Tops, Solar Pump and  Solar Rooftops have been launched during the past two years.

Following are the Indian states with solar make-over:

Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu leads the race of solar capacity addition table with an
installed capacity of 1,555.41 MW as on September 31, 2016 (grid connected solar projects).With the inauguration of the world’s single-largest solar power plant of 648 MW at
Kamuthi in Ramanathapuram district, Tamil Nadu has outpaced Rajasthan, which was a dominant solar leader state.

A 1.5 MW rooftop solar power plant was installed at the
integrated international cargo complex of the Chennai International Airport.
The state programme called Solar Powered Green House Scheme is a mission where three lakh houses will be constructed with solar powered lighting systems over a period of five years from 2011-12 to 2015-16 for the benefit of poor in rural areas.
Similarly, around one lakh streetlights in village panchayats will be powered by solar over a period of five years (2011-2016).The total renewable power
capacity of the state is close to 10,000 MW.

Family of Hafiz Khan at Andervan village in South Kashmir. Credit Abid Bhat (2)Rajasthan

With 300 to 330 clear sunny days, Rajasthan is the first leading state to place India on the solar energy map.
The state is known to enjoy one of the highest solar radiations (6.0-7.0 kWh/ m2) in the world comparable to the deserts of California, Nevada, Colorado and Arizona. Rajasthan’s districts such as Barmer, Bikaner, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur are known to receive best solar radiation.

The state has the maximum number of solar parks in the country which have a capacity of 3,351MW, all located in Jodhpur and Jaisalmar Preferences are given to Public Private Partnership (PPP) in setting up of Solar Power Parks. The “One Solar Thermal Power Plant” of 1 MW was set up by the World Renewal Spiritual Trust, a registered Charitable Trust/solar research centre and a sister organisation of the Brahmakumaris, at Mount Abu in Rajasthan, first of its kind in the world.
Rajasthan Solar Park Development Company Ltd (RSDCL), a wholly owned subsidiary company of Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation Ltd (RREC) is the sole responsible agency in setting up
solar parks at Bhadla.

During 2015-16, on an average, 4.83 million units of power was produced per day in Rajasthan, as per a report. A 6-MW Solar PV Roof Top project is also in the pipeline.


Gujarat ranks third in solar power generation in the country after Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan with a collective solar power capacity of 1,138.19 MW as on October 31, 2016. The state receives solar radiation of 5.5-6 kWh per square metre per day and has the potential to procure 10,000 MW solar power generation capacity. India’s first solar power park with a capacity of 345 MW is located in the Charanka district of Gujarat. So far, a total of 700 MW capacity of solar parks have been commissioned.
The nodal agency for renewable energy projects, Gujarat Energy Development Agency (GEDA), was commonly known as the Surya Cooker Office because way back in 1979, Surya Cooker was the first
renewable energy-based consumer product to be offered to the public.

Programmes such as Solar Photovoltaic Systems for lighting, irrigation, drinking water supply, education and entertainment and Solar Cooker Promotion Programme for urban and rural homes are implemented under the GEDA. Farmers of Dhundi village formed India’s first solar co-operative ‘Dhundi Saur Urja Utpadak Sahakari Mandali’ to sell water using the solar-powered irrigation pumps to neighbouring farmers. Recently, Chinese conglomerate, Sany Group, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Gujarat government to invest $2 billion over the next five years in
renewable projects.

Andhra Pradesh

With solar radiation of 4-6 kWh per square metre per day, Andhra Pradesh has commissioned total
solar power capacity of  968.05 as on October 31, 2016. Andhra Pradesh has commissioned solar parks with a total capacity of 4,000 MW, the highest in the country. Recently, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu commissioned a 5-MW solar power plant on the Polavaram right canal bund at Gollagudem village in West Godavari district.

The plant, which costs Rs 37.58 crore, will produce 8.06 million units of power per annum. Ultra mega solar park with a capacity of 1,000 MW will be commissioned in Kurnool district by March 2017. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission aims at deploying 20,000 MWof solar power and 20 million solar lighting systems for rural areas by 2022. Around 16,000 solar pumps have been sanctioned by the Centre for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 financial years. Two Andhra villages—Toorputallu and Pedhamyanavanilanka— will be electrified on 100 per cent solar power under Sansad Aadarsh Gram Yojna (SAGY). Union Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman  has adopted these two villages under SAGY.

More than 70 villages have been boosted through solar powered street lamps and solar powered LED bulbs among others.

Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh has solar radiation potential of more than 5.5 kWh per square metre per day for installation of solar projects.A cumulative capacity 811.38 MW has been commissioned by now (as of 31 October 2016).

Solar parks with a capacity of 2,750 MW have been installed at Gurh, Neemuch, Mandsaur, Chhatarpur, Agar, Shajapur, Rajgarh and Morena.Madhya Pradesh Urja Vikas Nigam Limited is the nodal agency to implement renewable energy projects. Under this ambit, programmes such as rural electrification programme, solar street light, solar home and solar water heating are carried out. Under the energy sector, Madhya Pradesh is slated to receive 17,000 crore investment by 2020.

The newly-crafted Telangana has been doing well in the area of solar energy. As on October 31, 2016, 963.79 MW solar power capacity has been commissioned. Telangana government has announced to generate 2GW solar power in the state under Telangana New and Renewable Energy Development Corporation Ltd.

As of September last, capacity addition of 3,019 MW of solar
energy was recorded during the year 2015-16

The state of Jammu and Kashmir gets 30,000 Solar Home Lights (SHLs), 20013 Solar Street Lights (SSls) under Jawaharlal NehruNational Solar Mission (JNNSM) from the MNRE.The remote villages of Mukleb and Takthak, located in the Durbuk block of Leh district received electricity for the first time in 70 years. A total of 12 grids using state-of-the-art DC Nano Grid solar technology were installed to power the villages.

The Uttar Pradesh government has directed the concerned authorities to install solar cycle potable water plants in 50 villages of drought-hit Bundelkhand region.Karnataka has launched Solar Power Policy to achieve 6,000 MW capacity of solar power by 2020.Punjab has received the world’s largest single rooftop solar power plant located in Beas near Amritsar.

Haryana launched Solar Power Policy to install 3,200 MW by 2022 (RPO target of 8 per cent) that
includes 1,600 MW of rooftop capacity. Beside this, a total of 3,030 solar power irrigation pumps will be distributed under Solar Water Puming Scheme to the farmers.
Jharkhand has planned to electrify 4,000 households in villages through solar energy by 2019.
Chhattisgarh’s Saur Sujala yojana to support around 51,000 farmers through 11,000 solar pumps distribution.

The Delhi Secretariat is the country’s first secretariat that runs on solar energy on net zero basis. Delhi has instructed mandatory deployment of Solar PV Rooftop atop all the government and public buildings.
The government has sanctioned three solar power parks, or ultra mega solar power projects, in Maharashtra. Each of these projects will have an installed capacity of 500 MW. Meghalaya will soon produce energy from waste and garbage with support from Assam state.

Assam gets its Solar Battery Stations at Bindhakata Tengapukhuri village in Chabua in Dibrugarh. The two solar battery charging stations of 6-kilowatt capacity can meet the power requirements of 287 households of four villages of the area namely Mulukghat, Mirigaon,
Gerekigaon and Tengabri.

In North-East, cities such as
Guwahati and Jorhat in Assam, Kohima and Dimapur in Nagaland, Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh and Agartala in Tripura will be developed as solar cities under the Development of Solar Cities Programme of MNRE.