India has launched a government solar initiative in an effort to become a global solar power leader.

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission will focus on reaching the target of generating 20,000MW of power each year from solar energy by 2022.

The regulatory and incentive framework will encourage technological innovation to generate economies of scale and lower costs.

The power produced from solar energy needs to be comparable in tariff with that of conventional sources before rapid and large-scale expansion of solar power can take place.

India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the mission will also aim to expand solar power-based rural applications including solar water pumps to boost the rural economy, reports AFP.

“We will need to find ways of reducing the space intensity of current solar applications, including through the use of nano-technology,” Singh is reported to have said.

The initiative aims to generate 200MW per year by 2012 through supply of large-scale grid connected power.