IEA Head Inaugurates Rural Solar Power Plants in India

IEA13 September 2012: The Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Maria van der Hoeven, recently inaugurated two solar-power plants in the mountainous Ladakh region of India as part of the village electrification component of the country's push for renewable energy.

The new plants, located about 4,000 meters elevation, are a 12.5 kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant located at a local college and a secondary school hostel. They serve to reduce energy poverty in the area as well as minimize the use of diesel and kerosene, cutting greenhouse gas emissions. They represent two of the 125 rural PV power plants installed by Ladakh Renewable Energy Development Agency, a branch of the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, has been implementing over the last two years. The aim of the programme is to advance solar water heater and greenhouse installation, solar cooking systems, domestic (and other) heating, and solar powered irrigation projects, to the benefit of homes, schools, medical facilities and religious institutions.

Having launched an ambitious solar augmentation plan in 2010, the Indian government now has 23GigaWatt (GW) installed capacity of renewable power generation (12% of power generation), with solar power representing 2% of this. They plan to expand the total by at least 30GW, with a third of this being solar energy, by 2017. [IEA Press Release]