Solar Power Projects

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    In News

    • The Union government has so far sanctioned the development of solar projects with a capacity of nearly 39,000 MW but only a fourth have been commissioned so far. 

    About Solar Energy 

    • Solar energy is any type of energy generated by the sun.
    • Solar energy is created by nuclear fusion that takes place in the sun. 
      • Fusion occurs when protons of hydrogen atoms violently collide in the sun’s core and fuse to create a helium atom

    Data/ Facts

    • India had committed to installing 175,000 MW of renewable energy by 2022 of which 100,000 MW was to be solar power. 
    • As of October 2022, 61,000 MW of solar power had been installed so far.

    Major Challenges

    • Cancellation: Some solar parks had been cancelled due to their slow progress.
    • Land Acquisition: The key challenge currently is hurdle in acquisition of land for the projects.
    • There is a mismatch in the time taken to set up a project and the infrastructure to route the power produced to the grid.
    • Environmental issues: The habitat of the Great Indian Bustard which is a critically endangered species in Rajasthan has been encroached upon by solar power projects particularly by transmission lines that endanger the bird.
    • Impact of Covid-19: The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown up tough challenges. The pace of renewable energy projects development and commissioning has been adversely impacted.
    • Cost: The Supreme Court has directed that power companies should lay underground cables in solar parks in Rajasthan which is an impractical step and would greatly raise the cost of solar power.

    Major Programmes in Renewable Energy Sector 

    • National Solar Mission (NSM) 
      • The NSM was launched with the objective of establishing India as a global leader in solar energy, by creating the policy conditions for solar technology diffusion across the country.
      • The initial target of NSM was to install 20 GW solar power by 2022. 
        • This was upscaled to 100 GW in early 2015. 
    • Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) 
      • It was launched in 2019 and it aims to help farmers access reliable day-time solar power for irrigation, reduce power subsidies, and decarbonise agriculture. 
      • PM-KUSUM provides farmers with incentives to install solar power pumps and plants in their fields. 
    • Atal Jyoti Yojana (AJAY) Phase-II
      • A Scheme for the installation of solar street lights with 25% fund contribution from MPLAD Funds. 
    • Solar Parks Scheme
      • Solar parks provide solar power developers with a plug and play model, by facilitating necessary infrastructure like land, power evacuation facilities, road connectivity, water facility etc. along with all statutory clearances.

    Way forward

    • Creating an innovation and manufacturing eco-system in the country which will enable supply of firm and dispatchable power from renewables etc. are issues which need urgent attention.
    • Renewable energy technologies are still evolving in terms of technological maturity and cost competitiveness, and face numerous market related, economic and social barriers.
    • There is a need to strengthen the steps to promote domestic manufacturing in the Renewable Energy sector (Atma Nirbhar Bharat Policy). 

    Source: TH