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India next big destination for solar energy

delhi Updated: Aug 15, 2011 18:47 IST
HT Correspondent

India is turning into the next big destination for solar energy, with demand for solar systems rising in the developing world, including China.

The move to cleaner energy got a further fillip on Wednesday, when India and Germany signed an agreement to set up one of the world's biggest solar energy station in Dhule district of Maharashtra.

For this, the German government owned development bank KfW has approved a loan of Rs 1,600 crore for a 125 MW solar power station. The total cost of the project would be Rs 2,370 crore.

"Developing the use of solar energy sources not only helps address environmental concerns, but also improves energy security and spurs regional economic development" said Uwe Ohls, director general Europe and Asia, KfW. "Therefore, the solar power plant at Sakri, being the largest of its kind in India and, in fact, the entire world, will open up new opportunities for a more secure and sustainable energy future in India."

It is not the first feat in solar energy sector for India.

Recently, the world's largest solar photovoltaic cell manufacturing unit was set up in Haryana costing Rs 2,000 crore. "The plant will be operational in the next 14 months", said an official of Jain Solar Energy Private Limited. The technology is being provided by Schmid Technology System of Germany.

The plant with a capacity of manufacturing PV cells of up to 400 MW per year is aimed at growing demand for PV cells within India and abroad. "China is already importing PV cells from Indian companies," the official said.

India has set an ambitious target for development of solar energy with installed capacity of 20,000 MW by 2012. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has already come out with incentive schemes for the private sector to achieve the target.

"The response is good," a ministry official said. He expected an investment of over Rs one lakh crore in the sector in the next decade and said many European companies have tied with Indian partners to development solar energy systems for the Indian and foreign market.

Already, the Bill Gates Foundation has decided to set up five solar energy parks in Gujarat in collaboration with the state government to generate up to 3,000 MW of solar energy by 2020. It will also reduce 5.2 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year.