Charanka: As coal and gas are becoming scarcer and dearer, Gujarat Chief Minister today said India should take initiatives towards forming a league of nations on the line of OPEC for solar power.
"There are different league of nations like OPEC and others. A league should be formed among the nations which get more sun rays. India should play a prominent role into the formation of such a league and step up its R&D to lead those nations," Modi said after dedicating a 500-MW solar power park to the nation.
The Organisation of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC) is an industry association for the oil and gas sector, which often dictates terms for the global oil prices.
Modi said he has already spoken to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the need for forming such an association of countries and taking initiatives.
Emphasising the need for solar power in the face of rising coal and gas prices, he said, "It is not too far when all have to look back to solar power. Just few days back, we have seen because of coal shortage, many generation plants were to be kept shut. The price of coal will go only up further in the coming days".
"It is not more than 20-30 years, when the world will face a similar situation. There will be no gas, no coal. People will look back at Gujarat," he said, amidst thundering applauds among the 5,000-odd people gathered at the venue.
The Gujarat government had announced its solar policy in 2009, ahead of such a policy announcement by the Centre. Now, the state has 605 MW installation capacity compared to 200-odd MW by the rest of India.
Modi said the state is stepping up its solar power movement through a programme under which tiny plants would be installed in on the household, which would not only ensure clean energy, but reduce the usage of thermal power using coal.
"Gandhinagar already has multiple installations of solar rooftop systems ranging from 1 kilowatt (kW) to 150 kW at more than 150 locations, aggregating to a capacity of 1.39 MW," he said, adding that similar solar rooftop programmes will be extended to more cities like Mehsana, Bhavnagar, Rajkot, Surat and Vadodara in the near future.
Gujarat, he said, has already met its target of 500 MW for 2014 and would move ahead with the same rigour and momentum for deployment of solar power projects and become a global solar hub.
"We are now looking forward to its next solar policy in the near future to support solar power deployment as well as now attract investments in the solar manufacturing industry," he said.
The solar park, the biggest of its kind in Asia, has been set up on 5,000 acres of barren land and has a total capacity to host a total of 500 MW.
The park at Charanka, spread across 5,000 acres, has 500 MW of generation capacity of both solar and wind energy. Solar project developers like Alex Astral, US-based Sun Edison, Lanco Solar, Roha Dyechem and GMR Gujarat Solar Power have set up plants in the park.
While 214 MW of grid connected solar power was commissioned at Charanka by 17 national and international
companies, 10 solar plants having combined generation capacity of 87.49 MW have gone on stream in Surendranagar, eight in Kutch (85 MW) and three each in Banaskantha (55.20 MW) and Rajkot (25MW), among others.
State utility Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (GUVNL) had signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) for 968.5 MW with 85 national and international solar project developers. Of this, 605 MW was commissioned today.
Speaking after dedicating the projects simultaneously from here, Modi termed it as a major step towards meeting the country's energy security.
"Gujarat shall show way to rest of the world in solar energy. Despite being a power surplus state, we are spending Rs 2,000 crore annually on clean energy in our war against climate change," he said.
The Gujarat government also announced it will shortly come out with a rooftop solar power plant policy that would enable middle income group families to generate revenue by selling surplus power. "We shall soon come out with a rooftop solar policy as our aim is to produce solar power on rooftops and fields of farmers," Modi said.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB), which extended $100 million financial support to the solar park at Charanka, today announced it would give an additional $500 million at concessional terms to Gujarat.
"$500 million financial assistance shall be given to Gujarat at concessional terms for four purposes that include assistance for development of smart grid to Gujarat Energy Transmission Corporation Ltd," ADB Senior Climate Change Energy Division Head Naoki Sakai said.
Addressing the gathering here, US Consul General Peter Haas said India and America have a broad agenda for
development of clean energy technology. The US commitment to solar energy in Gujarat is worth over $ half-a-billion.
"The US Government's total commitment to solar energy initiatives in Gujarat is worth over $ half a billion in finance, insurance and investment fund support.
"I am proud that three US Government agencies-Overseas Private Investment Corporation, US Export-Import Bank and US Trade and Development Agency - have provided financial support to the solar project," Haas said.
Updated Date: Apr 19, 2012 21:29:52 IST