FM moots ₹19,500-cr. push for solar manufacturing

‘This opens up huge job opportunities and will take the country on a sustainable development path’

February 01, 2022 11:16 pm | Updated 11:16 pm IST - New Delhi

Rooftop solar panels installed on buildings at the Cochin Port Trust.

Rooftop solar panels installed on buildings at the Cochin Port Trust.

The Centre has said it is committed to “facilitate” domestic manufacturing for the solar energy sector by looking to add 2,80,000 MW of installed capacity by 2030. To this end, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government envisioned an “additional allocation” of ₹19,500 crore as a “production-linked incentive” for manufacturing solar modules.

She referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statements in Glasgow at the COP 26 last November of India striving to achieve ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2070. As part of this, India would increase its non-fossil energy capacity to 5,00,000 MW by 2030 and meet 50% of its energy requirements from renewable energy by 2030.

“This strategy opens up huge employment opportunities and will take the country on a sustainable development path. This Budget proposes several near-term and long-term actions accordingly,” she said.

The Central Electricity Authority in its latest assessment has said as of early November, solar accounted for 11.8% of the installed capacity and had increased from 11.3% from four months ago. In the run-up to COP-26, the U.S. and India agreed to collaborate towards installing 4,50,000 MW of renewable energy by 2030.

India’s installed power capacity is projected to be 4,76,000 MW by 2021-22 and is expected to rise to at least 8,17,000 MW by 2030.

Observers lauded the references to “climate action”. “By referring to climate action as a sunrise sector and employment generator, the Budget 2022 had sent an important signal to markets, financial institutions and the workforce. We now need the power of government incentives, aggregation and de-risking for clean energy to be complemented by standards for low-carbon materials, skilling for battery recycling, and consultative processes for green infrastructure projects,” said Ulka Kelkar, Director, Climate Programme, World Resources Institute, India.

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