India's solar mission failing to recognize country's potential, says top researcher

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The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission – India’s ambitious solar growth plan – is failing to appreciate the abundance of potential locked up in the country, according to a leading researcher on renewable energy.

?K. Sivadasan, a retired top official for the Kerala State Electricity Board, has called into question the Mission’s strategy, accusing it of failing to adequately provision for sufficient infrastructure to be installed if the Mission is to meet its goal of 200 GW installed capacity by 2050.

The Mission also lacks a global vision and leaves little room for creative entrepreneurship, said Sivadasan, urging for an immediate revision of its road map.

?The researcher believes that India’s slow progress in the solar industry is a result of rigid policy structures and a lack of foresight and adaptability, citing Germany’s flexible and progressive approach towards developing its industry as the benchmark towards which India should be striving. Instead, he says, the country is happy to aim for lower targets, despite receiving twice the amount of solar radiation as Germany.

India’s focus on off-grid rooftop plants and large-scale plants is another reason for its slow progress, says Sivadasan, who instead calls for the introduction of a pragmatic feed-in tariff regime for rooftop installations in order to accelerate the industry.

The Mission’s financing model is also flawed, he suggests, creating an environment where unscrupulous investors can manipulate project reports to generate undue profits.