Rolling out the red carpet to foreign companies in joining India’s 100-GW solar mission is a smart move, as it can cut costs and bring cutting-edge technology.
Indian local manufacturing capacity is not developed enough to be as cost-competitive as China’s, for instance. So the Indian government’s push for solar power and its strategy to invite foreign companies to build the industry locally is a smart move.
With the government’s major thrust on renewables – that resulted in the formation of the International Solar Alliance this year with its secretariat in Gurgaon – private players are entering the solar space in a big way.
Towards this end, Trina , Chinese company has recently signed a MoU with the Andhra Pradesh government for acquiring 90 acres of land to set up a production facility and has also identified the site. However, still lacking manufacturing of scale in the sector costs in India remain high.
Although India wants local content, 90 per cent of India’s panels are imported. Indian manufacturers have to depend on accessories from China. Currently, most panels in India are Chinese manufactured.
This situation, however, has provoked measures to protect and encourage local industry through the domestic content requirement clause under India’s national solar programme, launched in 2010.
It mandates that a solar power producer compulsorily source a certain percentage of solar cells and modules from local manufacturers in order to be able to benefit from the government guarantee to purchase the energy produced.
A World Trade Organisation (WTO) panel ruled earlier this year that India’s domestic content requirement for the solar sector is inconsistent with its treaty obligations. The US had, in 2013, brought a complaint against India before the WTO, alleging violation of global trading rules.
Ironically, America and the European Union themselves have taken anti-dumping measures against cheaper Chinese solar panels in order to protect their own industries.
India expects to add around 5.5 GW of solar capacity in 2016, making it the fourth-largest solar market globally.
While several major solar manufacturers have announced plans to expand production capacities this year, Chinese demand has slowed, resulting in a softening of module prices.
On the other hand, a recent report by global accounting firm KPMG says that in the absence of strong local manufacturing, India will need to import $42 billion of solar equipment by 2030, corresponding to 100 GW of installed capacity.
However, cheaper Chinese imports have provoked industry bodies like the Indian Solar Manufacturers’ Association to demand safeguard levies and anti-dumping duties.
Paradise lost: study documents big decline in Earth’s wilderness
Unspoiled lands are disappearing from the face of the Earth at an alarming pace, with about 10 per cent of wilderness regions – an area double the size of Alaska – lost in the past two decades amid unrelenting human development.
South America, which lost 30 per cent of its wilderness during that period, and Africa, which lost 14 per cent, were the continents hardest hit. The main driver of the global losses was destruction of wilderness for agriculture, logging and mining.
The researchers’ study, published in the journal Current Biology, was the latest to document the impact of human activities on a global scale, affecting Earth’s climate, landscape, oceans, natural resources and wildlife.
The researchers mapped the world’s wilderness areas, excluding Antarctica, and compared the results with a 1993 map that used the same methods.
They found that 11.6 million square miles (30.1 million square km) remain worldwide as wilderness, defined as biologically and ecologically intact regions without notable human disturbance. Since the 1993 estimation, 1.3 million square miles (3.3 million square km) of wilderness disappeared, they determined.
This is incredibly sad because we can’t offset or restore these places. Once they are gone, they are gone, and this has shocking implications for biodiversity, for climate change and for the most imperilled biodiversity on the planet.
The wilderness losses in the past two decades comprised a combined area about half the size of South America’s vast Amazon region.
Now, ISRO eyes missions to Venus
The ISRO is mulling over missions to Venus or an asteroid and is under discussions for these, apart from a second mission to Mars.
ISRO also has a number of launches in the coming years including the Chandrayaan-2 and a joint mission with NASA.
ISRO now expects the GSLV to pick up business like the PSLV.
Road clear for Chandrayaan-2:-
The space road to Chandrayaan-2 is now clear. The significance of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F05) mission’s success is that the rocket is now more than qualified to put Chandrayaan-2 into orbit.
The interfaces between GSLV-Mk II and Chandrayaan-2 have already been finalised, according to officials in the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
A GSLV-Mk II vehicle will put Chandrayaan-2 with a lander and a rover into orbit in the first quarter of 2018. It will be a totally indigenous mission — the vehicle, the spacecraft, the lander and the rover are all made in India. The orbiter (that is, the spacecraft), the lander and rover together will weigh 3,280 kg. After the spacecraft is inserted into the lunar orbit, the lander with the rover inside it will separate and land softly on the moon’s surface.
The lander will have a throttleable engine for performing a soft landing and four sites have been short-listed for this. After it touches down on a flat surface on the moon, the 25-kg rover — which is a kind of a toy car — will emerge from it. It will have six wheels, made of aluminium, to move about on the lunar soil. The wheels will interact in such a way that the rover does not sink. The rover will move at a speed of two cm a second. Its lifetime on the moon is 14 earth days; it will have two payloads for analysing the soil’s chemical properties.
Cleanest Districts in India -Swachh Survekshan Survey
The ‘Swachh Survekshan’ for rural India was recently released.The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation had commissioned Quality Council of India (QCI) to carry out the assessment.
Each district has been judged on four distinct parameters. Maximum weightage was places on accessibility to safe toilets and water. The parameters to judge sanitation status include:
Households having access to safe toilets and using them (toilet usage, water accessibility, safe disposal of waste) (40%).
Households having no litter around (30%).
Public places with no litter in the surrounding (10%).
Households having no stagnant wastewater around (20%).
Highlights of the Survey:
Mandi (Himachal Pradesh) and Sindhudurg (Maharashtra) are the cleanest districts in India.
Mandi was judged as the cleanest district in “Hills” category and Sindhudurg as the cleanest in the “Plains” category.
Districts of Sikkim, Shimla (Himachal Pradesh), Nadia (West Bengal) and Satara (Maharashtra) have also featured at the top of the index.