Modi backs solar to light every Indian home by 2019

India’s victorious BJP to prioritise clean energy as part of mission to develop country, says party official

Pic: Al Jazeera English/Flickr

Pic: Al Jazeera English/Flickr

By Sophie Yeo

India will harness enough solar power to enable every home to have at least one light bulb by 2019, according to an official of India’s new ruling BJP party.

According to reports in Bloomberg, India’s new prime minister Narendra Modi plans to use solar power to bring electricity to the 400 million people who still lack access.

“We look upon solar as having the potential to completely transform the way we look at the energy space,” said Narendra Taneja, convener of the energy division at Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, which won a landslide victory against Congress Party on 16 May.

In 2010, the former government launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, which aims to provide 20,000 MW of grid connected solar power by 2022.

The goal to provide every household with solar power by 2019 will require state-level administrations to cooperate with the central government, as they both share control of the power industry, Taneja said.

He added that, if the plan is successful, it could allow every home to have enough power to run two bulbs, a solar cooker and a television.

Expanding clean power generation will be the top priority of Modi’s new government, he said. Solar in particular has the potential to create jobs and supply electricity to scattered households not connected to the grid.

In their election manifesto, the BJP pledged to put “put sustainability at the centre of our thoughts and actions”, at the same time as promising more exploration for domestic reserves of coal.

Analysts told RTCC that Modi is likely to prioritise development at any cost. But his own experience as chief minister in Gujarat, which he turned into a leader in solar power in India, could bode well for an attempt to access to electricity through solar across the rest of the country.

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