New development schemes boost solar across India

India has unveiled a number of new solar development schemes that set to underline the country’s commitment to the renewables sector.

The reported developments are being undertaken by the state government of Maharashtra, the Ministry of Defence and India Railways, and will see new policies and developments being implemented over the next five years.

In Maharashtra, the state government is set to develop its own integrated renewable policy. As reported on Prepsure and Business Standard, the government has convened experts from various sectors to draft a policy by January 15. That policy will then be open for feedback and debate for fifteen days. It is expected to receive parliamentary assent by February 15.

Energy Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule told Business Standard that the state had until now lacked a definite policy for the renewable energy sector. He added, "Though we, to some extent, derive power from solar and wind energy, the sector remains unstable in the absence of a policy. This needs to be changed. For compiling a policy draft, we have brought in experts from various sectors and sought their participation in the making of the new policy. Nuclear scientist Anil Kakodkar, Prakash Godbole from finance sector and Arvind Karandikar, who has in-depth knowledge of global solar industry, are some of the people who will be included in the committee."

According to the Business Standard report, the governments of Rajasthan and Chhattigarh have also been asked to consult, given the advanced nature of their own policies. Other contributors to the report will include the Maharashtra Energy Development Agency.

On a national level, over 300 MW of grid and off-grid solar PV power projects are to be developed by 2019, according to a report in The Hindu. These projects will be set up by defence establishments operating under the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Home Affairs. The schemes will use only locally-made cells and modules.

And finally, Indian Railways has unveiled plans to provide 10 MW of solar capacity at 200 railways stations, 26 buildings and 2000 level crossings. This will increase its current installations by roughly 50%. The company is also building a solar policy of procuring another 1,000 MW of power over the next half-decade under viability gap funding support as well as schemes from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. The company announced other plans recently to install a 30 kW solar plant on the rooftop of Rail Bhawan in New Delhi, which should be capably of generating around 45,000 kWh per year.