India is densely populated and has high solar insolation, an ideal combination for using solar power in India. India is already a leader in wind power generation. In the solar energy sector, some large projects have been proposed, and a 35,000 km2 area of the Thar Desert has been set aside for solar power projects, sufficient to generate 700 GW to 2,100 GW.
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In July 2009, India unveiled a US$19 billion plan to produce 20 GW of solar power by 2020.Under the plan, the use of solar-powered equipment and applications would be made compulsory in all government buildings, as well as hospitals and hotels. On November 18, 2009, it was reported that India was ready to launch its National Solar Mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change, with plans to generate 1,000 MW of power by 2013.
With about 300 clear, sunny days in a year, India’s theoretical solar power reception, on only its land area, is about 5 Petawatt-hours per year (PWh/yr) (i.e. 5 trillion kWh/yr or about 600 TW). The daily average solar energy incident over India varies from 4 to 7 kWh/m2 with about 1500â€“2000 sunshine hours per year (depending upon location), which is far more than current total energy consumption. For example, assuming the efficiency of PV modules were as low as 10%, this would still be a thousand times greater than the domestic electricity demand projected for 2015.
The amount of solar energy produced in India is less than 1% of the total energy demand. The grid-interactive solar power as of December 2010 was merely 10 MW. Government-funded solar energy in India only accounted for approximately 6.4 MW-yr of power as of 2005. However, as of October 2009, India is currently ranked number one along with the United States in terms of solar energy production per watt installed.