The bad news; Only 25% of the target set for solar power generation has been met in Phase 1 of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, which ends next year, i.e. 2013. India needs to do more if it wants to harness solar power.

The interesting news: one state, Rajasthan, has commissioned and undertaken solar power projects in numbers that are way ahead of any other Indian state under the centrally sponsored scheme of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. If successful and sustainable, the desert state can set an example for many states and perhaps even nations to follow.

A quick background; in an effort to combat climate change, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission on January 11, 2010. The mission recommended implementation in three stages leading up to an installed capacity of 20,000 MW by the end of the 13th Five Year Plan in 2022.

IndiaSpend’s Prachi Salve and Danielle Collaco filed a Right To Information (RTI) petition with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to dig out more details on the mission.

The Ministry says the government has approved an amount of Rs 4,337 crore for activities proposed under the first phase of JNNSM till March 2013. The outlay is being financed though Gross Budgetary Support to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

The mission is divided into three phases: the first phase (2010-13) is expected to add approximately 1,300 MW of solar power with a budgetary support of Rs 4,337 crore. Phase 1 is divided into four schemes: Migration Scheme (Potential for generating 84 MW), New Projects Scheme-Batch 1, New Projects Scheme-Batch 2, Roof top Photo Voltaic Cell (PV) and Small Solar Power Generation Programme (RPSSGP) (98.05 MW).

Table 1: Schemes Under Phase 1 of JNNSM

Name of SchemePotential Solar Power (In MW)
Projects Under Migration Scheme84
Projects Under New Projects Scheme-Batch 1620
Projects Under New Projects Scheme-Batch 2350
Roof Top PV & Small Solar Power Generation Programme98.05

Source: Press Information Bureau

The second phase (2013-17) plans to create approximately 4,000-11,000 MW of solar power. Financial requirement for Phase 2 will depend on the review of the implementation of Phase 1. And finally, the third phase (2017-22) aims to create approximately 20-22,000 MW of solar power.

Table 2 offers more details of the Mission.

Table 2: Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission Roadmap

Application SegmentTarget For Phase I (2010-13)Cumulative Target For Phase 2 (2013-17)Cumulative Target For Phase 3 (2017-22)
Grid solar power (large plants, roof top & distribution grid plants)1,100 MW4,000 – 10,000 MW20,000 MW
Off-grid solar applications200 MW1,000 MW2,000 MW
Solar Thermal Collectors (SWHs, solar cooking/cooling, Industrial process heat applications etc)7 million sq metres15 million sq metres20 million sq metres
Solar Lighting System5 million10 million20 million

Source: RTI Filed By IndiaSpend

1,142 MW To Be Generated From Phase 1

Under Phase 1 of the JNNSM, a total of 157 projects were supposed to be completed. These projects would generate about 1,142.05 MW of solar power.

Let’s take a look at the state-wise break-up of the total number of allotted projects under the JNNSM.

Table 3: Total Number of Allotted Projects Under JNNSM

Name of StateNo of Allotted ProjectsPotential of Electricity Generation (in MW)
Andhra Pradesh1695.5
Chhattisgarh24
Gujarat120
Haryana98.8
Jharkhand816
Karnataka15
Madhya Pradesh35.25
Maharashtra946
Orissa913
Punjab915.5
Rajasthan72873
Tamil Nadu922
Uttar Pradesh613
Uttarakhand35
All India1571,142.05

Source: RTI Filed By IndiaSpend

Rajasthan Gets Lion’s Share

As you can see from Table 3, the highest number of projects (72) has been allotted to Rajasthan, which will potentially generate 873 MW of solar power.

Gujarat and Karnataka have the lowest number of projects with one project each with the potential of generating 20 MW and 5 MW, respectively.

In the first phase of the JNNSM, out of a total of 157 projects, about 102 projects have been commissioned by the government, which are expected to generate about 261 MW of solar power.

Let’s take a look at the state-wise break-up of all the commissioned projects under Phase 1.

Table 4: Total Number of Commissioned Projects Under JNNSM

Name of StateNumber of Commissioned ProjectsPotential of Electricity Generation (in MW)
Andhra Pradesh1219.75
Chhattisgarh24
Gujarat00
Haryana87.8
Jharkhand816
Karnataka15
Madhya Pradesh00
Maharashtra616
Orissa812
Punjab68
Rajasthan38147.5
Tamil Nadu610
Uttar Pradesh410
Uttarakhand35
All India102261.05

Source: RTI Filed By IndiaSpend

As you can see from Table 4, Rajasthan has the highest number of commissioned projects at 38, which are supposed to generate 147.5 MW. Andhra Pradesh has the second highest number of commissioned projects (12) to generate about 19.75 MW of solar power.

The cost of solar power – thanks to cheaper solar cells - is dropping steadily, becoming more affordable every year. Entrepreneurs are also developing interesting, localized applications like rooftop power systems rather than massive power stations which carry their own cost and operations risk. For a sunshine rich country like India, solar seems a sure way to go. Question is whether the Rajasthan example will find more takers.

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