Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently stated a rather ambitious plan to make India a global leader in solar power as he launched a government initiative to boost use of the solar technology, and make solar energy the most important renewable energy source in country.
According to Singh solar energy can not only help secure India's energy independence and decrease the need for expensive foreign oil import, and it would also help fight against climate change, as well as offering brand new opportunities for further growth of Indian industry that is constantly in shortage of the energy.
In order to do so he formally launched the so called “The National Solar Mission” that should establish India as a global leader in solar energy, in the areas of both power generation as well as technology production.
The Solar Mission has the goal of increasing solar energy capacity exponentially to reach 20,000 megawatts for the year 2022, reducing reliance on coal and other fossil fuels that are mostly imported. This amount should provide enough power for 20 million homes in India.
This certainly looks like the very bold plan especially when you consider that approximately 80,000 poor Indian villages still lack basic access to grid electricity but as the Singh said: "The rapid spread of solar lighting systems, solar water pumps and other solar power-based rural applications can change the face of our rural energy sector."
India's current numbers show production of only nine megawatts of solar power but still the prime minister thinks that “solar energy can be the next scientific and industrial frontier in India”, and could soon replace wind energy as the India's No.1 renewable energy source.
It will be very interesting to see whether India could actually achieve such huge solar power expansion.