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

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid