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Modi accelerates India solar revolution, doubles tax on coal

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The newly elected India government of Narendra Modi has announced a suite of initiatives for solar energy across the country that will be partly funded by a doubling of the tax on coal.

Modi – a long time supporter of solar – has promised a “saffron” revolution that will include ambitious targets for small, large and off-grid solar and a switch away from an assumed reliance on coal as the country seeks to deliver on its momentous task of bringing electricity to the entire country.

Modi-solar_1769999fIn its first budget announced this week, Modi’s government announced funding for a series of “ultra mega” solar PV farms to be located in four Indian deserts, in Rajasthan,  Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.

The government also launched a scheme for 100,000 solar power driven agricultural pump sets and water pumping stations in off grid areas.

It has also announced plans to dramatically extend a plan to cover canals with a series of 1MW solar farms, using availabl space to generate electricity and to reduce evaporation.

And it has also announced tax cuts and excise exemptions for arrange of solar components and machinery to help reduce the cost of domestic manufacturing of solar PV cells and modules.

This is considered crucial if the government is going to meet the ambitious 20,000MW of solar by 2022 under the previous government’s National Solar Mission program.

But Modi wants to expand this dramatically – some suggest 10-fold, but perhaps not in the same time frame – and has promised at least a solar light in every household by 2020 as part of his “saffron revolution”. India currently has some 300 million people – nearly the population of the US – without power.

Deutsche Bank says the country currently has 2.6GW of solar capacity – much of it in Modi’s home state of Gujarat – and it expects installations to be around 1.5GW in 2014 and around 2GW in 2015.

india-flag-270x270-150x150However, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in a report last week that India could install more than 200GW of solar out to 2030 – nearly as much as coal-fired generation – because utility scale solar will be cheaper than new coal plants in India by 2020. The country is also expected to reach “socket parity” for residential solar before 2020.

Meanwhile, the $250 million budgeted for these measures in the 2014/15 financial year will be financed by a doubling in the tax on coal to 100 rupess ($1.70) a tonne. The tax, introduced in the 2010 budget, collected about 25 billion rupees in its first year.

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  • Zvyozdochka

    India also has an ambitious plan for concentrating solar thermal of their own designs.

    Goodnight Aussie coal. Governments that ‘invest’ in infrastructure to support coal export are almost certainly wasting every cent of taxpayer money.

  • Mags

    A man with vision, clearly. Unlike our PM who is taking us to the dark ages. How sad for Australia that we can’t be benefiting from this energy revolution that is underway, especially since we have an abundance of natural renewable resources.

  • Tim Buckley

    Mexico introduced a $3/t CO2 tax on fossil fuels in Jan’2014. In Apr’2014, Chile’s Prime Minister announced a $5/t CO2 tax (due to be passed into law later this year) on fossil fuel generators to encourage the take-up of renewable energy. In Jun’2014, Korea introduced a US$17/t tax on coal to encourage energy efficiency. In Jul’2014, China announced a 5% tax on the value of coal used. In Jul’2014, India doubles its tax on coal to US$1.70/t to help fund the rollout of solar. What do all these countries have in common? They are all major net importers of fossil fuels. Is there a trend here?
    Maybe our Prime Minister might eventually realise putting Australia’s head in the sand wont prevent the world’s progression to a low carbon future. All it will do is make Australia’s inevitable transition more costly, leaving us with lots more stranded assets.

  • Alan Baird

    The ingrates! You’d think they’d be grateful for our cheap coal! And then to encourage solar! Sob. The Murdoch press should raging about the unfairness of it all. But probably not a word.

  • Rajan Kapur

    Mr. Parkinson, what is the source for “… ultra-mega solar PV in … Lahul & Spiti ..”.? The budget doesn’t mention Lahul & Spiti.

  • http://nuclearsupremacyforindiaoverus.blogspot.com Satish Chandra

    Filthy Indian niggers are going crazy that, in response to my reference to Modi fighting for a U.S. visa, the United States wants to “honor” filthy nigger Modi by having him address a joint session of U.S. Congress. They are silent about the honor given to the greatest Indian of all time:- “”India’s greatest scientist and greatest living Indian publicly tortured in Harvard seminar, systematically and totally starved for up to 3 weeks at a time, made semi-starved and homeless and even blind for years, kept under 24-hour audio and video surveillance as well as surveillance of [and interference with] communications and electrical typewriter and computer use, document creation and photocopying, etc., by satellite for more than past 3 decades, systematically harassed and in poverty and neutralised and robbed of his work at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars per year, robbed of crores in his money and property in India by C.I.A.-RAW, forced back into exile in the U.S., all with full cooperation and participation of India’s RAW and India’s C.I.A.-RAW-controlled prime ministers, politicians and media — to keep India poor, weak and enslaved” and how this means the nuclear destruction of New Delhi and then the coast-to-coast destruction of the U.S.; see my blog titled ‘Nuclear Supremacy For India Over U.S.’ which can be found by a Yahoo/Google search with the title; my biography can be found in Marquis’ Who’s Who in the World, 2014 and earlier editions.” In the past few years I have had India’s nuclear forces emplace India’s nuclear warheads in Washington, New York and other U.S. cities, ready to be exploded. Simultaneously destroying Washington, New York and New Delhi (RAW headquarters, South Block and North Block) with a warning that additional U.S. cities will be similarly destroyed, with nuclear warheads already emplaced in them, if there is any retaliation or sign of retaliation, will immediately make India the supreme military and economic power in the world even before implementing my proposal about money which can make India’s economy grow 30% per year or more. IndiasLegitimateRulerSatishChandraDOTblogspotDOTcom Satish Chandra