Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said solar energy would play a major role in achieving self-reliance in energy, essential for an Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India).
While inaugurating the 750-MW solar power project in Rewa district via video conferencing, Mr. Modi said, “We won’t be able to use solar power entirely unless we have within the country improved solar panels, improved batteries and best quality storage. We need to work in this direction now.”
Stating that solar energy would be a big medium for the energy needs in the 21st century, he added, “This is because solar energy is sure, pure and secure. Sure, because other sources of energy can be exhausted, but the sun will continue to shine. Pure, because instead of polluting the environment, it helps in protecting it. And secure because, it’s a huge symbol, inspiration for Atma Nirbhar Bharat.”
The Rewa solar project, being touted as Asia’s largest solar project, is the first solar project in the country to break the grid parity barrier. While the Delhi Metro will use 24% of the electricity produced from it, Madhya Pradesh will use the rest. “The project, along with others, will make Madhya Pradesh a hub of cheap and clean energy,” said Mr. Modi.
While the world was in a quandary whether they should focus on environment or economy, Mr. Modi said India had shown these two were not in opposition to each other. “They are partners. For us, environmental protection is not limited to some projects, but it’s a way of life. When we launch big renewable energy projects, we are also ensuring our resolve towards clean energy is seen in every aspect of life.”
Mr. Modi further said the government’s priority was that electricity reached everyone and the environment remained pure. “This is reflected in our policies relating to solar energy. In 2014, the price of solar power was ₹7-8 per unit. Today, it is ₹2.15-2.30 per unit. Not just in the country, all over the world it’s being talked about how solar power is so cheap in India.”
In order to achieve self-reliance, he said, the country aimed at ending its dependence on imports. “We have decided that government organisations which buy solar cells and modules should buy only the ones made in India,” he said.