Although the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (NSM) is a departure from the past, as India begins to mainstream climate considerations in energy planning, our analysis indicates that its objectives are unclear and actions, not aligned to India's development goals. Prayas analysis estimates the already committed subsidy at Rs 36,000 (NPV), with 60 percent coming from electricity consumers to support large grid-connected solar power plants and the balance from tax payers. With an allocation of only 8 percent of the committed subsidy, the most appropriate use of solar PV - solar lighting systems and off-grid solar solutions have not received priority despite their immense socio-economic benefits to the rural poor. This is indicative of poor planning responsible for abondoning of the slogan of 'Inclusive Growth'. We recommend realignment of the solar mission to meet India's development goals and ensure a socially equitable, environmentally sustainable and economically optimal direction.
This was published as a paper in the March 20th, 2010 issue of EPW.