April 19, 2013
NEW DELHI — India’s emergence as a new frontier for solar power has turned it into a key market for solar power developers. Plummeting prices and a push by the government have made solar energy a viable option in the sun-drenched country.
Thousands of blinking, photovoltaic solar panels sprawled in a barren, arid region in the western state of Gujarat have been lighting up homes for nearly a year.
Asia’s largest solar energy park, near Charanka village, was established last April by more than a dozen international companies to produce 214 megawatts of power daily.
Since then, more solar parks have come on line in a country that produced virtually no solar energy three years ago.
Amit Kumar at the The Energy and Resources Institute in New Delhi says rapidly falling prices for solar energy have made it commercially viable to harness the power of the sun.
“In a year’s time, as far as progress is concerned we have about 1500 megawatts of solar power and that is an achievement. Prices are also continuously coming down, and we feel again the target that cost of solar power should be equal to conventional power, we feel it could be achieved by 2017 itself,” said Kumar.
Conventional fossil fuels produce most of India’s power, but the government has set an ambitious goal of producing 20,000 megawatts of solar power by 2022.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urged global companies to make India a solar energy hub at a conference on clean energy.
With nearly 400 million people without access to power, mostly in rural areas, India desperately needs new sources of energy. Even urban areas reel under chronic power shortages. And the focus on solar energy to fill the gap is attracting companies to grab a slice of the emerging solar power sector.
Some companies are establishing big solar parks attracted by government assurances to buy the power at subsidized rates.
Others are producing small solar systems for village communities. They are companies like Bangalore based SELCO India, whose solar systems help power low wattage appliances such as lights, fans, television sets, lamps, mobile chargers and sewing machines.
Prasant Biswal at SELCO gives an example of how access to power improves the livelihoods of low-income families.
“You have a sewing machine which can be powered by electricity, but unfortunately in most of these areas where there is no electricity, the entrepreneur is forced to use manually operated machines. When we power it on solar, what happens is instead of producing 10 or 20 saris, the person produces say about 80 or 100 saris,” said Biswal.
Analysts say with vast tropical areas and ample sunshine for much of the year, India could emerge as a hot market for solar power if government policies continue to support the sector.
measure (n) 措施；手段
frontier (n) 未完全開發的領域
plummet (v) 垂直落下
viable (a) 可實行的
sprawl (v) 蔓生，延伸
arid (a) 乾燥的；不毛的(土地)
印度是太陽能的新開發領域(new frontier)，成為太陽能開發業者 (solar power developers) 的重要市場 (a key market)。大幅下降的 (plummeting) 太陽能成本，再加上政府的推動 (push)，太陽能在這個充滿陽光的 (sun-drenched) 國度是確實可行的選項 (viable option)。
古吉拉特邦 (Gujarat) 位印度西方，是一個貧瘠荒蕪 (barren, arid) 的區域，成千上萬片閃閃耀光的光電能 ( blinking, photovoltaic) 太陽能板延綿佈滿 (sprawled) 其中，產生的電力已足夠讓區域內居家照明使用一年。
harness (v) 利用；控制
conventional (a) 傳統的
hub (n) 中心
reel (v) 不穩的走；蹣跚
新德里 (New Delhi) 的能源與資源研究機構 (The Energy and Resources Institute) 指出，因為產太陽能的價格降低 (falling prices)，讓使用 (harness) 太陽能在商業上有其可行性 (commercially viable)，而由於價格持續降低，到2017時，太陽能成本 (cost) 還可能跟傳統電力一樣 (equal to conventional power)。在一場以乾淨能源 (clean energy) 為主題的會議上，印度總理曼莫漢 (Manmohan Singh) 希望開發太陽能的國際大廠能使印度成為全球太陽能的中心 (hub)。
assurance (n) 保證
subsidize (v) 給...津貼，補助
rate (n) 費用，價格
appliance (n) 裝置,設備
一般的家電產品都可以用"appliance"這個字，是可數名詞；更明確指「家電」可以寫成 "domestic/household appliances"。另一個指「設備」的字是 "equipment"，常指較具有特殊用途與功能的設備，而且是不可數名詞，如 "camping equipment" (露營設備)、"sports equipment" (運動器材、設備)，可以用 "piece" 當量詞，例如：Make sure you have the right piece of equipment before you go.
livelihood (n) 生活；生計 XXXXX* 注意發音：
entrepreneur (n) 企業家；事業創辦者
manually (adv) 用手地；手工地
在政府做出保證 (assurances)，以補助費率 (subsidized rates) 購電的誘因下，許多公司設置了大型的太陽能電廠 (solar parks)，另一些公司則是在村落社區 (village communities) 推出小型的太陽能系統，供電給低瓦數的家電 (low wattage appliances)使用，這改善了許多低收入家庭的生計 (livelihoods of low-income families)。 在沒有太陽能供電之前，大多無電的區域只能使用手動操作的機器 (manually operated machines)縫紉。當開始使用太陽能供電後，產量從本來的10到20件紗麗 (sari)，提升到現在的80至100件。(編按：sari是把布料纏身的一種服裝，在印度還有與印度鄰近的國家都常見的傳統服飾，見Wikipedia說明)
市場分析師認為，因為有廣闊的熱帶區域 (vast tropical areas) 和充沛的陽光 (ample sunshine) ，只要政府政策持續支持太陽能產業 (sector)，印度將會是個火熱的太陽能市場。
Check your vocabulary!
Fill in the blanks with a word or phrase from the list above. Make necessary changes. After you finish, select the text below to reveal the hidden answers.
1. Professor Field is devoted to the exploration of the frontiers of medicine.
2. Mowing lawns is his only livelihood.
3. The room rates at this motel range from to per day.
4. Few of the machines are operated manually.
5. The refugee camps sprawl across the landscape.
6. House prices have plummeted in recent months.
7. The desert is so arid that nothing can grow there.
8. They will harness the sun's energy to heat homes.