Our vision is to make India’s economic development energy-efficient. Over a period of time, we must pioneer a graduated shift from economic activity based on fossil fuels to one based on non-fossil fuels and from reliance on non-renewable and depleting sources of energy to renewable sources of energy. Our success in this endeavour will change the face of India.” These were the words of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, when he launched India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change in June 2008. About two years later, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission was launched today at the Solar Energy Conclave in New Delhi. Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy has termed it as “a historic and transformational initiative of the UPA Government”. Dr. Abudullah said that cost reduction and technological advancements are very necessary for rapid scale-up and to achieve the targets of 20,000 MW. Economies of scale, Indigenisation and cutting-edge research will together lead to cost reductions. Human resource development and capacity building efforts, like offering fellowships to students to pursue research on solar technologies, are already on. This mission on Solar Energy is one of the eight national missions which comprise India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change.  Three major initiatives have been planned under the Solar Mission:
  • Creating volumes to allow large scale domestic manufacture
  • Announcing a long term policy to purchase power
  • Supporting RnD to reduce material consumption and improve efficiency and develop new materials and storage methods
The government plans to install 20 million solar lights by 2022 which will would result in a saving of about 1 billion listers of kerosene annually. Rural banks will provide soft loans to consumers for this purpose. According to an article, the govt. has already sanctioned setting up of 1,00 MW of grid power and 200 MW capacity of off-grid solar applications using both solar thermal and photovoltaic technologies in the first phase of the mission.
The report named ‘Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission’ talks about solar energy and its scalability, environment friendliness and security as a source of energy. It discusses the Mission Strategy with details of Phase 1 and 2,  the proposed road-map from 2010 to 2o22, the Policy and Regulatory frameworks, the RnD and HRD goals, institutional arrangements, international collaboration and financing mechanisms. I would say that this initiative is a sigh of relief post the  Flopenhagen Summit, which had large goals and resulted in hollow promises!