News / Asia

India Emerges as New Frontier for Solar Power Developers

Indian laborers work near solar panels at the Gujarat Solar Park at Charanka in Patan district, about 250 kilometers (155 miles) from Ahmadabad, India, Apri. 14, 2012.
Indian laborers work near solar panels at the Gujarat Solar Park at Charanka in Patan district, about 250 kilometers (155 miles) from Ahmadabad, India, Apri. 14, 2012.
Anjana Pasricha
— India’s emergence as a new frontier for solar power has turned it into a key market for solar power developers. Plummeting prices and a push by the government have made solar energy a viable option in the sun-drenched country.
   
Thousands of blinking, photovoltaic solar panels sprawled in a barren, arid region in the western state of Gujarat have been lighting up homes for nearly a year.

Asia’s largest solar energy park, near Charanka village, was established last April by more than a dozen international companies to produce 214 megawatts of power daily.
 
Since then, more solar parks have come on line in a country that produced virtually no solar energy three years ago.

Amit Kumar at the The Energy and Resources Institute in New Delhi says rapidly falling prices for solar energy have made it commercially viable to harness the power of the sun.
     
“In a year’s time, as far as progress is concerned we have about 1500 megawatts of solar power and that is an achievement. Prices are also continuously coming down, and we feel again the target that cost of solar power should be equal to conventional power, we feel it could be achieved by 2017 itself,” said Kumar.  

Conventional fossil fuels produce most of India’s power, but the government has set an ambitious goal of producing 20,000 megawatts of solar power by 2022.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urged global companies to make India a solar energy hub at a conference on clean energy.

With nearly 400 million people without access to power, mostly in rural areas, India desperately needs new sources of energy. Even urban areas reel under chronic power shortages. And the focus on solar energy to fill the gap is attracting companies to grab a slice of the emerging solar power sector.

Some companies are establishing big solar parks attracted by government assurances to buy the power at subsidized rates.

Others are producing small solar systems for village communities. They are companies like Bangalore based SELCO India, whose solar systems help power low wattage appliances such as lights, fans, television sets, lamps, mobile chargers and sewing machines.
  
Prasant Biswal at SELCO gives an example of how access to power improves the livelihoods of low-income families.

“You have a sewing machine which can be powered by electricity, but unfortunately in most of these areas where there is no electricity, the entrepreneur is forced to use manually operated machines. When we power it on solar, what happens is instead of producing 10 or 20 saris, the person produces say about 80 or 100 saris,” said Biswal. 

Analysts say with vast tropical areas and ample sunshine for much of the year, India could emerge as a hot market for solar power if government policies continue to support the sector.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid