Just talk, no work

Down to Earth - - LETTERS -

This is with ref­er­ence to "It's nice but not sunny" (Jan­uary 1-15, 2015). It's sur­pris­ing that to­day nei­ther a gram of poly­crys­talline sil­i­con nor a sin­gle sil­i­con wafer is be­ing pro­duced in the coun­try. Th­ese are the ba­sic ma­te­ri­als for mak­ing so­lar cells and pho­to­voltaic (PV) mod­ules, which pro­duce elec­tric­ity from sun­light. Given that the cost of PV mod­ules is about US $0.5 per Watt, the coun­try would need a for­eign ex­change of US $0.5 tril­lion for im­port­ing 100 GW of PV mod­ules. This will make our bal­ance of trade more pre­car­i­ous. More­over, our coun­try would be de­pen­dent on China for its en­tire re­quire­ment of PV mod­ules, which is not good from a strate­gic point of view. Way back in 1986, we had es­tab­lished fa­cil­ity for pro­duc­ing polysil­i­con and sil­i­con wafers, which were com­pet­i­tively priced, ex­cel­lent in qual­ity and were sought by all so­lar cell pro­duc­ers in the coun­try. Un­for­tu­nately, this has been killed, and to­day we do not have any base for th­ese ma­te­ri­als. Should the gov­ern­ment not con­sider mak­ing this in In­dia?


I was think­ing that the in­cum­bent gov­ern­ment has even­tu­ally grasped the coun­try's power cri­sis sce­nario as it is in­tro­duc­ing am­bi­tious re­new­able en­ergy plans. The ar­ti­cle, how­ever, made me re­alise the hur­dles the coun­try faces in the so­lar en­ergy sec­tor, such as pol­icy un­cer­tain­ties and power pur­chase agree­ments. Though rooftop so­lar sys­tem is a good ini­tia­tive, it is im­por­tant to sen­si­tise peo­ple to this project.



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