A year ago India announced that solar power would be a major part of its climate action plan but between then and now, other than some project announcements, we haven't heard all that much. But now Worldwatch Institute reports that Indian newspaper The Hindu has seen a draft copy of a national solar power plan which seriously ups the ante:
According to the leaked document, India's "solar mission" will include measures for rapidly expanding the use of small-scale photovoltaic panels, solar lighting systems, and commercial-scale solar plants, in order to drive down costs and encourage domestic solar manufacturing. The efforts would occur in both rural and urban areas and target residential as well as commercial users. The plan also proposes scaling-up centralized solar thermal power generation, with the aim of achieving cost parity with conventional grid power by 2020 and the full necessary energy infrastructure by 2050.
With India's installed solar capacity currently at only 3 megawatts, this would be the most ambitious solar plan that any country has laid out so far. The scope of the initiative would also match and ultimately far exceed India's plans for nuclear power generation.
Specifically the plan aims to have 20,000 MW of solar power by 2020, expanding to 100,000 MW by 2030 and 200,000 by 2050.
Funding This All Might be the Most Ambitious Part
Which not only is "ambitious" but also going to be expensive to implement: Worldwatch cites Greenpeace's Energy [R]evolution report in saying that by 2050 India could generate 69% of its electricity and 70% of its heating and cooling needs from renewable sources, but that will require an investment of $154 billion.
In the leaked draft, government investment would amount to $18-22 million, with presumably the balance to be made up through international financing mechanisms.