India asks for help with solar energy plan

Posted by Emma Woollacott

New Delhi, India - The Indian government has come up with an ambitious plan for solar energy - but is asking western nations to foot the bill.

Following a meeting of the national climate change council yesterday, president Manmohan Singh is calling for a $19 billion program to generate 20GW from sunlight by 2020, almost doubling the world's solar power capacity.

India currently has almost no solar power capacity, and is hugely dependent on coal for its power needs.

By 2030, the country plans to generate 100GW, rising to 200GW by 2050. The plan also calls for all government buildings to house solar panels by 2012.

But India is looking to western nations to help cover the cost. "In order to achieve its renewable energy targets, the Indian government expects international financing as well as technology at an affordable cost," said Leena Srivastava of the TERI energy research institute.

It looks rather as if India has come up with the plan as a bargaining chip for the next climate change summit, due to take place in Copenhagen in December. Its government has previously said that India will not agree to cuts of greenhouse gas emissions at the summit.