Monthly Archives: May 2011

Solar energy gets set to power India

A Perfect Storm is defined as “an event where a rare combination of circumstances will aggravate a situation drastically”. Based on developments over the last few years, it is becoming increasingly apparent that a perfect storm is brewing in the energy space in the country.

First, India will continue to experience insatiable energy demand growth over the next several years. According to the Ministry of Power, from a current installed base of 170 GW, India will build up to 316 GW by 2020. In the same time-frame, the demand gap will grow from 19GW to 103GW, an increase of 5x! In this scenario, all types of energy are welcome – conventional, nuclear, and renewable.

Second, in spite of having low greenhouse gas emissions per capita, India has already become the 3th largest emitter in the world, according to the International Energy Association. This has created immense international pressure on India to respond. Increasing the percentage of renewable energy in the overall energy mix is one way to take a substantial bite out of the emissions pie.

Third, India is endowed with ample raw materials required to generate solar energy. Two ingredients are essential – land and sun – and India has plenty of both. In fact, the best land tracts for solar energy generation are dry and barren, and have little potential for alternate use. Conservative estimates put solar potential in India at about 70GW. More realistic estimates put the potential closer to 500GW.

Fourth, solar power technologies lend themselves to the scale effect. With increasing scale comes improvement in yields, efficiencies, quality, reliability, and costs of production. All of these work in concert to drive the levelised-cost-of-electricity (LCOE) down. Combine that with increasing costs of conventional energy, driven by increasing costs of inputs, and the utopian spectre of grid parity becomes achievable in the next few years.

Fifth, Indian policymakers are committed to supporting the scale-up while also reducing solar costs. The National Solar Mission employed tariff bidding to allocate 650MW to developers last year. The Gujarat Government has signed PPAs for 950+MW. In future rounds, the tariffs offered by these programmes will reduce, which will drive down the costs of solar generation. Already, capital costs for solar projects have dropped from INR 15-16 crore/MW to INR 12-13 crore/MW. Another government initiative that will drive significant capacity addition is the Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) that is being implemented across the country. Distribution companies and captive consumers will have to source a percentage of their energy from renewable sources. This is set at 5% currently and will grow to 15% over the next ten years. Within this, there is a solar-specific RPO of 0.25%, slated to grow to 3% over the same time frame. The RPOs will be implemented through Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), which will trade within a pricing band established by the CERC. This pricing band will be reviewed periodically and is designed to provide acceptable financial returns to developers .

Lastly, in spite of challenges, several hundred MW are likely to be commissioned within the next year. As stated earlier, over 1,600 MW of PPAs have already been signed. While many developers are facing significant hurdles, related largely to acquiring land and achieving financial closure, several projects aggregating 200-300MW are likely to be commissioned over the next year. Not a bad outcome from a standing start!

These circumstances are leading to a perfect storm in solar, which should result in over 50 GW installed and over $30 billion invested in solar power in India by 2022.

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Solar light project launched for remote Varanasi villages

Some Varanasi villages may soon shine under the bright solar lights.

An ambitious project ‘Jyotirgamaya’ launched by the Grand Lodge of India. It has established a solar power plant at Amrit Sagar Eco centre of Aghor Foundation in Ramnagar area.

The power plant was inaugurated on Thursday last. The system consists of PV solar modules, charger/controller, and storage batteries. The solar plant was established at the cost of Rs. 30 lakh.

Through this solar plant solar home lighting would be made available to the local houses, cremation ghat and other public places in the surrounding. The Amrit Sagar centre has been established without harming the nature. The centre has been promoting organic farming, use of organic manure, tree plantation, and environment awareness campaign.

In its 50th year of existence the Grand Lodge of India has taken up the project to provide long lasting source of light to people by providing light to remote villages that have no access to power from national grid.

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Making Investments While the Sun Shines

As the country suffers through another blistering summer, it only makes sense that this abundant resource is put to some use.

Venture capitalists have raised $24.5 billion since 2009 to invest in clean technology or renewable energy in India, and would like to invest more than a fifth of that capital in solar-energy projects, according to researchers VCCEdge and Preqin.

A worker cleans solar panels at the Thyagraja stadium in New Delhi.

Their investment is based on the thesis that India will need more energy than it now generates if it is serious about maintaining its economic growth rate of 9%.

The nation’s existing fossil-fuel-based power plants cannot keep up with current demand as evidenced by the frequency of power cuts across the country. And, proven coal reserves are expected to last only up to 50 years more. Against this backdrop, the 300 sunny days that the country gets in a year looks like a huge resource boon. Estimates say this free source can be used to generate five trillion megawatts of energy, a huge surplus considering India’s annual consumption is about 848 million megawatts.

While this opportunity to be part of a new and rising industry has attracted droves of investors—domestic and foreign—attractive targets are in short supply. Funds such as Blackstone, TPG Growth and Reliance Venture Asset Management Pvt. Ltd. have all paid high premiums on portfolios that involve long developmental pipelines and few operating assets.

The solar sector has seen only eight transactions amounting to $100 million in the last three years—a fraction of the money that has been raised to invest in this sector.

Shivani Bhasin Sachdeva, chief executive of private equity fund India Alternatives, says solar-power-based power generation needs greater economic support than say, wind-based and small-hydropower projects, as the latter sources are on the verge of reaching grid parity—the point at which an alternative means of generating electricity is economically on a par with a conventional technology such as coal-based-generation.

The Indian government is doing its bit. In 2009, the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission—which promotes efficiency and competition in bulk electricity generation and transmission— launched the ambitious Solar India Initiative to be deployed over 19 years. Its three-phase plan works toward generating 20 gigawatts of solar energy within 12 years.

“When the solar policy was announced 15 months ago, there was a kind of gold rush into the sector,” said Alan Rosling, founder and chairman of Kiran Energy Solar Power Pvt. Ltd.

His company received $30 million this year from New Silk Route Advisors Pvt. Ltd, Bessemer Venture Partners India and Argonaut Ventures LLC and is engaged in developing solar projects.

Initially, new entrants thought it would be easy to reap quick returns but the first round of bidding, led by the government, for the purchase and sale of power under the National Solar Mission (dubbed the Vidyut Vyapar Nigam scheme) “was a very good way of shaking out players who were not serious,” Mr. Rosling said.

Indeed 418 applicants competed for 30 government contracts for the purchase of solar power from private industry, said Sanjay Chakrabarti, leader of the national clean technology practice at Ernst and Young. This indicated a high level of interest in a relatively underdeveloped sector that had few experienced players, he said.

Government-backed incentives, mandatory use of locally manufactured equipment and solar purchase obligations for utility companies have helped the Indian solar sector emerge as a safe bet as investors are assured of long-term annuity returns, said Yogesh Mathur, chief financial officer at Moser Baer Group.

The maker of compact discs and electronic devices decided to take the plunge into solar power and is, today, the country’s second largest maker of solar cells and the fifth largest maker of solar modules—panels that convert sunlight into electricity.

Despite government support, execution of these plans is plagued by delays. For investors, the buzz fades somewhat when they realize that initial returns are less than expected due to gestation periods of up to 25 years, and a complexity of implementation that’s greater than expected. But there are benefits too.

“Projects in clean tech (including solar energy) are often subsidized via government grants, which reduces the capital expenditure burden for private investors,” she said. “Further, investors can choose… across a spectrum of clean technologies, which diversifies their risk.”

That’s why there’s more money likely to come in with another 29 India-focused funds looking to raise $6.79 billion for investing in companies that produce energy using renewable sources or engaged in activities that have a minimal or beneficial impact on the environment.

Where they will put all this money isn’t clear but in a few years, India is on track to “emerge as one of the biggest solar energy markets globally,” said Moser Baer’s Mathur.

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India’s solar potential remains untapped, but the future’s bright

A recent KPMG report finds that the Indian economy faces increasing challenges in terms of energy policy, and that the seeds have been sown for a rapid and scalable solar sector “in the very near future”.

Picture of photovoltaic domestic installation in India.

India‘s photovoltaic potential requires $110 Billion in capital. Image: Flickr/Barefoot photgraphers of Tilonia.

India’s growing economy and energy demands are increasingly reliant on energy imports, in the form of coal and oil. Coal dominates India’s energy mix and the economy writ large faces constraints in the form of unreliable and fragmented electricity supplies. The Indian Planning Commission has forecast the country faces 12 percent electricity shortfalls during hours of peak consumption. In this environment, and with reliable year-round sunlight in some regions, solar and photovoltaic generation has the potential to take off and save the country $5.5 billion in coal imports over the next decade, write KPMG’s report authors.

$110 billion in Indian solar investment opportunities and vast domestic market expansion

The Indian solar sector is yet to become mature and replicate the nation’s successes in the information technology (IT) and auto industry. However, with significant investment it could be transformed. The KPMG report, The Rising Sun, breaks down the investment in solar required to facilitate such a transformation into five year periods, coming to the conclusion that $20 billion is needed between 2012 and 2017 and $92 billion between 2017 and 2022. These figures combine both small-scale and off-grid installations, and large-scale solar farms.

In the photovoltaic sector, KPMG predicts that with such investment levels, the Indian vendor market would increase correspondingly by over $14 billion over the next decade. In industries related to photovoltaics – but not exclusive to the field – the vendor forecasts are also for rapid growth to reach $9 million in 10 years.

KPMG also sees room for growth and investment in photovoltaic related technologies in India, including storage technologies; non-module equipment such as inverters, which are not presently manufactured in India; and integrated systems and applications, such as agricultural pump systems. Furthermore, the report identifies great potential in India as a low cost photovoltaic manufacturer.

The report authors conclude that financially, “the solar sector has the potential to transform the Indian economy in a way the IT sector transformed the Indian economy in the 90s. Industry should grab this golden opportunity, thus benefiting themselves and the overall economy.”

Environment right for rapid solar expansion

The report also found that solar and photovoltaic industry trends favor a rapid expansion in India with falling costs and technological advances facilitating growth in both large scale and rooftop generation installations. In both cases, grid parity in India, as projected in the KPMG report, could be achieved in as little as six to eight years. Using this timeline, the report forecasts exponential growth in both the annual and cumulative solar markets.

Off-grid potential is also seen to be great with the report highlighting the potential of telecom towers as photovoltaic installation sites. Many are situated in areas with “limited or no grid connectivity” and at present rely on diesel fuel. With projected expansion in the number of such towers in rural and urban areas, the fuel requirements could amount to 3.5 billion liters per annum by 2020. At present, photovoltaic installations are price competitive with diesel and if a projected 30 percent reduction of diesel reliance is achieved, a saving of 5.4 billion liters over 10 years could be delivered.

Government role in India’s bright solar future

KPMG sees the role the government could play in realizing India’s solar potential as being crucial, and the report was supportive of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), which was launched in late 2009. The JNNSM set a target of a 22,000 megawatt production capacity in on- and off-grid production, to be realized by 2022. Regional governments also have a role to play in realizing India’s solar potential and KPMG reports that the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have significant potential in that their solar installation rates are high as are their conventional power costs.

Subsidies in the form of a feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme are noted and the structure of the German FIT program is cited as a workable model delivering, “innovation and rapid growth in the solar sector.”

Securing funding for the Indian solar sector is crucial, write KPMG, and government here is an important player. While solar technologies are yet to be widely proven in India, their may be a reticence in the banking community to provide funds and the Indian government has moved to educate the sector’s potential.

The KPMG report also highlighted the potential of Indian manufacturing, and research and development facilities. Here, a governmental role could be decisive, on both state and national levels, and time delays in pursuing tax credit or support schemes in this field could be crucial in reaching the envisage significant solar potential.

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Lanco receives LoA for INR8.84 billion solar power project from Mahagenco

Lanco Solar, a subsidiary of Lanco Infratech Limited, in consortium with Juwi Renewable India Ltd, has received a letter of award, or LoA, from Maharashtra State Power GenerationCo Ltd, or Mahagenco, for building a 75MW Crystalline technology based photovoltaic, or PV, solar power project in Dhule district in Maharashtra. The project value is INR8.84 billion.

The project would be fully commissioned by mid February 2012.

Madhusudhan Rao, Chairman, Lanco Group, said, “India’s solar power generation capacity will reach 68,000 megawatts (MW) by 2021-22, triple the government’s target. To pursue the same, we at Lanco has given utmost importance to build on capacities on solar power generation which is also the need of the hour and aims to have 300 MW in generation next two years & in EPC aims to have 300-500 MW of solar thermal and solar PV plants over the next couple of years.

“What we are trying to create today is a small portion of the opportunity we have in the future and for the same Lanco Infratech has been developing a number of solar projects and has been at the forefront in its commitment to develop and promote renewable energy in India.”

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Solar’s Outlook Dazzles

At the end of last year, the global photovoltaic market hit a cumulative installed capacity of 40 GW, of which 16.6 GW was added during 2010. A year of unprecedented growth saw new capacity more than double from 7.2 GW in 2009. Worldwide, solar PV already produces some 50 TWh each year. By 2015, though, capacity could climb to range from 131 GW to 196 GW.

These figures come from the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA), which recently presented its Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics until 2015. The trade group linked last year’s surge to soaring German and Italian markets. Germany continued to lead the PV market worldwide, with 7.4 GW installed over the year, while Italy added a substantial 2.3 GW.

Other countries with significant growth included the Czech Republic, which saw a 1.5 GW expansion in 2010, a rise unlikely to be sustained in 2011. Japan gained 990 MW, the United States 900 MW, and France 700 MW. Spain regained some ground by installing 370 MW after two years of strongly adverse conditions. Belgium connected more than 420 MW of PV.

Europe Leads the Way

In terms of global installed capacity, the EU leads with almost 30 GW installed as of 2010 — about 75% of global PV capacity, up from 70% in 2009. Japan (3.6 GW) and the USA (2.5 GW) are some way behind, while China has already entered the Top 10 of the world’s PV markets and should reach its first GW this year.

Across Europe, installations last year totalled 13.3 GW, outstripping 9.3 GW for wind to lead all renewable generation technologies in added capacity. In its expansion PV was second only to gas power plants, for which new capacity reached between 15.7 GW and 28 GW, depending on the source. EPIA, in fact, links global investment in gas — rather than nuclear and coal — with the growth in variable renewable generation sources such as PV and wind.

At its current pace of expansion, Europe could increase the percentage of its electricity generated from PV by one percentage point every two years, says EPIA. The continent’s annual increase in capacity has grown from less than 1 GW in 2003 to over 13 GW last year. Despite difficult financial and economic circumstances, 2010 was expected to show a major acceleration. But a 130% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) exceeded all expectations and almost matched the 145% from 2007 to 2008.

Global Growth Opportunities

While the EU has dominated the world market for years, and may continue to do so, the rest of the world clearly offers greater growth potential. PV can provide a sustainable solution to the energy needs of the ‘sunbelt’ countries around the equator. In this region PV can already compete with diesel generators for peak power generation without policy support

Driven by local and global energy demand, the fastest PV growth is expected to continue in China and India, followed by Southeast Asia, Latin America and the MENA countries. The PV potential of the sunbelt countries could range from 60 GW to 250 GW by 2020, and from 260 GW to 1100 GW in 2030, representing 27% to 58% of the forecast global installed PV capacity by then.

Currently, though, among countries outside Europe only Japan and the USA have more than 1 GW of installed PV capacity. China could reach that threshold quickly but medium-sized markets will need several years to reach the same level of development.

A global analysis reveals three leading zones that are developing PV in contrasting ways. The Asia-Pacific (APEC) region, reflecting its wealth and economic growth, is the second-placed region behind Europe. In addition to Japan and China, the APEC region covers: South Korea, where the market has slipped since 2008; Australia, with more than 300 MW installed in one year; Taiwan; and Thailand, where more than 2.5 GW may be installed in coming years. North America is the third region, with Canada developing steadily alongside the US to form a huge market with tremendous potential for growth.

Outside these three regions, the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region represents an untapped opportunity for the medium term. PV also shows great potential in South America and Africa, where electricity demand is expected to rise fast.

Forecasts to 2015

While growth in the EU in coming years could be low, or even negative, non-EU countries should more than pick up the slack from 2011 and 2012 onwards, ensuring continuous global PV market growth until 2015 and beyond.

In 2011, though, a market stagnation or even a small dip is not impossible. The speed of political decisions over 2010 and the start of 2011 acts as a reminder that PV will be incentive driven until competitiveness is reached in all of a country’s market segments. Yet EPIA believes market developments could raise global installed capacity in 2015 to between 131 GW and 196 GW, with 100 GW hit as soon as 2013.

A rapid global rebalancing could also be imminent, with the EU accounting for less than 40% of the world market by 2015 in the EPIA’s ‘Moderate’ scenario and about 45% in its ‘Policy-Driven’ scenario. While 2010 showed no sign of such a change, the rest of the world, and especially Asia, could prove a fertile market, even if the EU is likely to stay ahead in installed capacity over the next decade.

Production, which was once balanced between the EU and the rest of the world, is already growing faster in Asia, and particularly China. Modules are still mainly shipped to the EU, reflecting the smaller size of Asia’s market, although about half of the value of a PV system is currently created further downstream and closer to the consumers.

Anticipated growth in markets outside the EU would tend to reduce the mismatch between supply and demand. A current overcapacity should also further reduce module prices over coming years and thereby trigger more demand.

The disparity in installations between the EU and the rest of the world should decrease over the next five years. On the supply side, a rise in the relative share of transport in the cost of PV modules as module prices decrease should address the imbalance and encourage production closer to the end market. A continuing slide in PV module prices will also further erode the share of modules in the overall value of a PV system.

Production Overview

Unquestionably, global PV production capacity in 2010 considerably outstripped demand. Even so, several manufacturers announced plans to accelerate their capacity expansion.

This apparent contradiction extends from module manufacturers further upstream in the PV value chain. EPIA estimates that global production capacity for silicon could reach 370,000 tonnes next year, up from about 350,000 tonnes in 2010. Huge expansions have taken place since the 2005 and 2008 shortages, and many only came on-line last year. Various small Chinese players are being forced to shut down production while the largest established companies are announcing capacity increases of as much as 40,000 to 60,000 tonnes by 2012.

For wafers, global production capacity totalled 30-35 GW in 2010, of which more than 55% was in China. Germany accounts for more than 10% of global capacity, followed by Japan, Taiwan, Norway and the US.

Crystalline-silicon (c-Si) cell and module capacity is now mainly based in Asia. EPIA estimated global c-Si cell production at 27-28 GW in 2010. Almost half this capacity was in China, while Taiwan produced more than 15%, the EU more than 10%, Japan slightly less than 10%, and the US less than 5%. Module production capacities for c-Si were estimated slightly higher at 30-32 GW.

Global production of thin-film modules reached 3.5 GW in 2010. This is likely to increase to more than 5 GW in 2011 and might reach 6-8.5 GW in 2012.

Scaled Down Incentives

Three main factors have driven PV’s spectacular recent growth. Firstly, renewable energy is no longer a curiosity; PV has proven itself to be a viable energy source in all regions of the world. Secondly, price falls have brought PV close to grid parity in several countries, encouraging new investors. Finally, policymakers in key countries have introduced FiTs and other incentives that have helped develop markets, cut prices and raise investors’ awareness.

Over the last decade, global installed capacity has multiplied by 27, from 1.5 GW in 2000 to 39.5 GW in 2010 – an annual growth rate of 40%. Furthermore, that growth has proved to be sustainable, allowing the industry to develop at a stable rate.

The EU, having overtaken Japan, is now the clear leader in both market and installed capacity, thanks largely to German initiatives, which have also fed global expansion. In the rest of the world, the leading countries continue to be those that started installing PV even before the EU.

The market is expanding every year. In sunbelt countries, falling prices are bringing PV closer to grid parity and helping spread awareness of its potential. But the financial crisis and competition from other energy sources put pressure on policymakers to streamline incentives.

‘The currently installed global PV capacity produces power equivalent to the entire electricity consumption of countries like Greece, Romania or Switzerland,’ said Ingmar Wilhelm, EPIA’s president.

‘The evolution of the PV market in recent years has been heavily linked to the confidence and vision of… policymakers in supporting the development of the technology. Adequate support policies that have been driving the markets so far, such as the feed-in tariffs, must continue and be ever brought in tune with the declining cost curve of PV.’

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Mobile towers major air polluters

Nearly 60 percent of energy consumed by mobile towers is from diesel sets which naturally emit copious fumes. This effectively makes mobile towers major air polluters. For long, the issue has been in the background but not anymore — the number of mobile towers is so high there’s no option but to power them with renewable energy.

While there are hardly any guidelines on consumption of energy by these towers, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) gives clearance to telecommunication operators to set up towers depending on consumption of diesel and how they impact air quality.

Due to high diesel consumption and resultant pollution, environmental watchdog Greenpeace now wants mobile towers to shift to solar energy.

There are around 4 lakh mobile towers in the country. Bangalore Telecom district alone has 1,180 sites where mobile towers are installed. A majority are owned, planned, installed and managed by BSNL.

“We comply strictly with radiation and safety norms set by the department of telecom. The energy demand for standalone 2G sites is about 12kW and for 2G + co-located 3G site is about 18kW. Power failures of up to six hours are met by onsite back-up battery sets. Power failures of longer duration are met by diesel generator sets which have an average diesel consumption of about 3.5 litres per hour, that’s an expenditure of about Rs 150 per hour. Last year, BSNL spent about Rs 3.3 lakh on DG sets,” principal general manager, BSNL, Subhendu Ghosh told TOI.

Greenpeace says the operational costs of these towers are exorbitant because they consume huge amounts of energy. “While 60 percent are dependent on diesel, 40 percent are grid based. These need to be phased out. The subsidy on diesel has been aggressively exploited by the telecom sector, resulting in an annual loss of around Rs 2,600 crore to the state exchequer, according to our estimates. A shift in power sourcing to renewable technologies, such as solar photovoltaic, will result in close to 300 percent reduction in total costs for telecom operators, in comparison to a diesel generator-based tower over ten years,” explained climate and energy campaigner, Greenpeace India, Mrinmoy Chattaraj.

Ghosh says: “Bangalore Telecom experimented with solar power at a few sites which showed considerable saving in energy bills. Normally, Bescom bills are between Rs 12,000 and Rs 15,000 per month. The experiment proved that with solar power there’s a savings of about 60 percent on energy bills. A new concept of ‘free cooling’ is also being tested in which power consumption due to air-conditioners is substantially optimized to about 25 percent.” Trials are on towards solarizing towers in the BSNL network, he added.

Clean talk — Greenpeace report, ‘Dirty Talking — A case for telecom to shift from diesel to renewable’ says telecom sector in India emitted over 5.6m tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2008 due to diesel use — Major private telecom players claim they’re trying to solarise towers but nothing has moved on ground — Ministry of new and renewable energy says telecom sector consumes 2 billion litres of diesel annually for its mobile towers which grew to 3 billion in 2011 at 30 percent growth rate — Karnataka State Pollution Control Board chairman A S Sadashivaiah says every mobile tower needs its approval since these emissions impact air quality

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Time ripe to popularize solar energy: Abdullah

KANPUR: Union minister for renewable energy Farooq Abdullah stated here on Friday that his ministry was helping Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur in conducting research, development and popularisation of solar energy. The ministry has also allotted a research project to the Institute in this regard.

Abdullah said that it has become necessary to stop relying too much on non-renewable sources of energy like coal. The project has been handed over to IIT-K to promote research in solar energy and bring it closer to the people.

The minister said that his ministry has been promoting solar kitchen in a big way, keeping in view the fact that solar kitchens are much in use at religious places like Vaishno Devi, which are thronged by thousands of devotees every year.

He said that a sum of Rs 570 crore have been allocated for generating solar energy in Laddakh to encourage cooking through solar power. Solar power is used to cook food for around 50,000 people in Golden Temple.

He said that under the Jawaharlal Nehru Solar Mission which was inaugurated by Prime Minister in January, one hundred megawatt of power could be generated through solar energy by 2013 and over 20,000 megawatt by 2022.

“Through wind energy, we will be generating more than 13 megawatt of power, he said while talking about the ambitious plans of his ministry in near future.

He also mentioned that the tidal energy could be of a considerable help in generating power and that the scientists were making efforts to generate power through this form of energy.

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Government will “stay sensitive” towards green concerns:PM

New Delhi: Amid a growing debate over environment and development, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said his government will “stay sensitive” towards green concerns but maintained that the pace of development should not suffer in the process.

Observing that the environmental issues have “acquired a new urgency” in recent years, the Prime Minister emphasized the need to work with renewed energy to address green concerns.

“While we stay sensitive to environmental concerns, we will also strive to ensure that the pace of our development does not suffer in the process,” Singh said in the UPA government’s annual report presented to the people on Sunday.

“We need to work with renewed energy to address environmental concerns if we wish to make our growth processes sustainable and give our people a better quality of life,” he further said.

The Prime Minister also referred to various green steps taken by his government during the year 2010-11 which included the establishment of National Green Tribunal, sanctioning of Rs 2,500 crore under Mission Clean Ganga and launching of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.

“We will accelerate our efforts in sustaining our environment in the coming years. More specifically we will work sincerely to implement the National Action Plan on

Climate Change, including the eight national missions which are a part of the Plan,” Singh added.

According to the report, the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change has considered all eight climate change related national missions.

The eight missions are the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, National Water Mission, National Missions on Enhanced Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Habitat, and Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change, and the National Missions for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem, a Green India and Sustainable Agriculture.

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Innovation meets functionality at NIFT

NIFT Shillong Logo

Image via Wikipedia

What if your neck and back muscles got a massage while you worked on your PC? Or your office used daylight to power tube lights without using solar panels?
All these products and more designed by students of National Institute of Fashion Technology were presented at ‘Technova 11’, a platform where outgoing NIFT students present their graduation projects.

IT professionals suffer from repetitive strain injury, a disease that causes acute pain and sometimes numbness in their neck and back muscles. Our battery-powered jacket provides a massage to these areas,” say Ankesh Dev and Dinesh Kumar who have designed this product prototype, which may soon go commercial after they complete its tests.

Meanwhile, students Arpit Gupta and Jinal Shah have designed a product which can be used in multi-storied buildings and captures daylight without using solar panels. Gupta says, “Our product captures daylight and transfers it to the point of use in the form of a beam. This helps in reducing the average electricity consumption by 8% from the current 14%.”

Other innovations like automated machines to reduce labour costs, designed by students Satendra Burnwal and Surabhi Taneja, are already in use by quite a few readymade garments (RMG) firms.

Another product designed for the RMG industry, an ergonomic chair by Siddharth Singh Negi and Sharad Agarwal, is also likely to be a blessing in disguise for sewing operators of the industry.
“Currently, these operators make use of stools with no backrest or provision to adjust height. Our product can be adjusted with respect to the height of a person, when seated, in the range of 33-43 cms.

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