Prime Minister Narendra Modi on said India is considered the most attractive clean energy market because of the tremendous progress in this field and added solar energy will play a key role in achieving the Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) goal. He called solar energy pure, sure, and secure. “It is sure because other sources of energy might be depleted but not of the sun. It will always continue to shine. It is pure because it helps the environment instead of polluting it and secure because it is a symbol of self-reliance,” said Modi while inaugurating Asia’s biggest–750 MW –solar power plant in Madhya Pradesh’s Rewa via video conferencing.
Modi said when policy markers were in a dilemma globally whether to focus on the economy or environment and took decisions, either way, India had shown the way that they complemented each other.
“Whether it is Swachh Bharat [Clean India] campaign or campaign to provide LPG and PNG to every family or building the network of CNG-based transport system across the country or efforts for electricity-based transport in the country, several such measures are being undertaken for making the lives of people better in an environment-friendly manner,” he said.
He added this is why environment protection and ease of living are being given preference in all government programmes. “For us, protection of the environment is not confined to a few projects but it is a way of life. When we are launching big projects of renewable energy, we are trying to ensure that our resolve towards clean energy is reflected in every aspect of our life, and also our efforts are to see that its benefit goes to every citizen, every class and every part of the country.”
Modi said 360 million LED bulbs have been distributed across the country and over 10 million fitted in street lights over the last six years. He added prices of LED bulbs were once beyond the common man’s reach. In the past six years, the prices have reduced 10 times and people were now using 9-10 watt instead of 100-200 watt bulbs, he said. As a result, he said, the consumption of power has been reduced by 6 billion units and people save Rs 24,000 crore annually. Modi added it has also prevented 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the environment and thus pollution level came down.
Modi cited the government’s policy on solar power and added the price of solar energy has come down to Rs 2-2.50 per unit from Rs 7-8 per unit in 2014. He added it has benefitted industries, employment generation, and people. “There is a discussion going on in the entire world as to how solar energy is so low-priced in India. When there is a discussion on renewable energy in the world, India is being seen as a model.”
Modi said the solar power potential cannot be utilised completely till the country has better solar panels, battery, and storage capacity. “Work is going on in this direction. The country’s aim under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan is to do away with our dependence on imports for various hardware including solar panels. Necessary steps are being taken to enhance the manufacturing of solar PV modules.”
Modi asked entrepreneurs, youths, and startups to take advantage of the country’s potential in the solar energy field. “It has been made mandatory to use solar photovoltaic cells and modules made in India in pumps under Kusum [Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan] scheme and rooftop panels on houses. It has been decided that the government departments and other government institutions will only purchase made in India solar cells or modules. At the same time, the government is encouraging the companies which are setting up power plants to manufacture solar photovoltaic.”
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said the foundation for the Rs 4000 crore project was laid in 2017 and the power it will produce will cost Rs 2.97 per unit, which is the lowest rate in the country. “From the environmental point of view, emission of 15.7 lakh tonnes of carbon dioxide is being prevented…which is equal to planting 26 million trees. …24% of the power produced is going to the Delhi Metro.”