2 Overview of Indian Solar Energy Sector

India is located on the earth's sunny belt and receives abundant energy from it. The equivalent energy potential for India is estimated at about 6,000 million GWh per year. The daily average global radiation varies from 5.0 kWh per square meter in north-eastern and hilly areas to about 7.0 kWh per square meter in western regions and the cold desert with the sunshine hours ranging between 2,300 and 3,200 per year. In most parts of India, clear sunny weather is experienced for 250 to 300 days in a year. The annual global radiation varies from 1600 to 2200 kWh per square meter.

The Thar Desert in western Rajasthan is spread over an area of 35,000 square kilometers and if properly exploited, has the potential to produce 700 to 2,100 GW of solar power. In June 2008, India released its National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC). One of the missions under this plan has been christened the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM or NSM) with a target of producing 20,000 MW of solar power by the year 2022.