INDIA SOLAR PV MARKET SHINES BRIGHT
India's market potential
Energy security has become a significant factor in Indian
politics. India's energy demand is constantly rising on account
of the country's rapid economic growth, and experts estimate
this to rise from the current level of 660 kilowatt hours (kWh)
per capita per year, to up to 2,000 kWh by 2032.
At the same time, India fulfils all the requirements for taking
on a leading position in the international solar market. High
levels of insolation enable the production of four to seven kWh
of solar energy on average per square meter, per day. For this reason, the Indian government is
increasingly backing solar energy. In line with plans set out in the “National Solar Mission” of India's
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, solar installations with a combined output of 20 gigawatts (GW)
are due to be installed by 2022 making prospects in the Indian market particularly good presently and
for the foreseeable future. Even in the initial phase of expansion, India's government intends to allocate
several hundred millions for feed-in tariffs and research projects. As a result, an increasing amount of
national and international companies are responding to these new developments and Intersolar India
offers them the premier platform for taking the first step into the hugely promising Indian market.
The solar mission lays out an ambitious vision and a broad framework to make India a world power in
the use of solar energy, and it fixes an ambitious target of generating 20,000 MW of solar power by
2022. From the current installed solar power base of less than 200 MW, this would mean growing the
Indian market 100 times over the next 12 years! The billion dollar question is: can we do it? The answer
is not easy. True, the country is richly endowed with sunshine.
From Kashmir to Kanyakumari and from Kutch to Kohima, if there is one natural resource that is
commonly available all over India, it is the SUN! We have on average 300 days of sunshine, and the
average solar radiation varies from 4 to 7 kWh/ m2 per day. The total sunshine falling over India is
more than 5000 trillion kWh! If we could use just a fraction of it to convert it into sunlight, we could
solve our energy needs! However, the fact is that we have not been able to develop a solar energy
industry of any significant scale so far. Even though India is currently facing a huge shortage of energy,
we have not paid as much attention as needed towards renewable sources of energy, solar in particular.
At present, we have a 12% gap between demand and supply of electricity and it peaks to 16-17%.
This is at a time when roughly half of the billion plus population does not have access to basic lifeline
electricity. The per capita consumption of India is one-fourth of the global average. The Indian
government has laid out an ambitious target of supplying Power to All by 2012. Further the target is to
supply 1000 units of electricity per capita by 2012. By present estimates, we are going to miss this
target! On the other hand, there are at least 105,000 villages out of a total of 600,000 villages that are
not yet officially electrified.
A large number of these villages are either located in remote and difficult locations or are sparsely
populated and it is not technically feasible or economically viable to extend the electricity grid there.
Solar power can be used to provide electricity to all these remote locations and transform the lives of the
people in a very short span of time. So the question—whether India can achieve the targets under the
solar mission—needs to be answered in the affirmative. Yes, the targets can be achieved if the mission
receives the political leadership and policy direction that it deserves along with the required budgetary
support to enable the solar industry to grow to a minimal critical mass. The immediate challenge is to
reach the target of 1000 MW of grid-connected and 200 MW of off-grid installations, which has been set
out for the first phase up to March 2013. If we can achieve these targets adequately and in time, it will
set off a positive energy for the rest of the targets to follow. The solar mission strategy to appoint the
NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN) as the nodal agency that will be charged with the task of purchasing
solar power from developers and selling to State utilities, along with equivalent amount of thermal power
from the unallocated quota of NTPC stations, should hopefully work well. Unlike its parent, NVVN is a
new entity and its performance will be watched keenly as the success of the framework will depend on
its ability to sign power sale agreements with state transmission utilities and accordingly to sign power
purchase agreements with solar power developers.
The state utilities will be required to purchase 0.25% of their total purchase from solar power producers
and this portion will eventually rise to 3% by 2022. This RPO will open an assured market for solar
power producers. The CERC had issued the generic tariff for renewable energy in its order on 03
December 2009 at Rs. 18.44 per kWh for solar PV projects in case accelerated depreciation is not availed
of and Rs. 17.14 per unit in case accelerated depreciation is availed of by the power developer. Besides
the generic tariff, the CERC regulations also provide for project specific tariff which a developer can
decide to pursue. However, while the industry was absorbing this news it started realizing that this tariff
was only for projects commissioned before 31 March 2010.
Additionally, as per the Generation-Based Incentive (GBI) programme, the Government will provide
financial assistance of Rs 12 per unit in case of solar photovoltaic and Rs 10 per unit in case of solar
thermal power fed to the electricity grid from a grid interactive solar power plant of a capacity of 1 MW
and above for a period of 10 years.
At present, the tariff to be applied for projects starting in 2010-11 estimated to be based on newly
announced normative capital cost of Rs. 15.2 crore/ MW (down from Rs. 17 crore/MW used in the 03
Dec 2009 notification). At a public hearing organized by the CERC on 10 February, solar power
developers and manufacturers argued and pleaded with the CERC not to reduce the normative capital
cost figures. At the time of writing the new notification from CERC on the normative capital cost for solar
power project in 2010-11 and the generic tariff for the same is awaited.
Some GREEN NEWS across INDIA:
1. 1. Solar power: India Inc lines up Rs 100,000-crore plans
Punj Lloyd Delta Renewables a joint venture between Singapore-based Delta Renewables and Indian
infrastructure major Punj Lloyd, has bagged about Rs 300 crore (Rs 3 billion) worth of orders, a majority
of which are from the Bihar government. Tariq Alam, CEO, says "our start has been much better than we
anticipated. Opportunities coming up are going to be very huge in solar power".
2. BHEL, HPCL plan JV for solar power foray
In line with the Government of India’s Clean Climate Initiative, state-owned companies BHEL and
HPCL have decided to foray into solar power generation. The two PSUs are working out the modalities
to form a new joint venture company with equal equity participation for setting up a series of solar
photo-voltaic based power plants across the country. Stating that the modalities of the JV
arrangement are being worked out, a senior HPCL official said the plan is to begin with the
development of a 25 MW capacity solar power project costing Rs 350 crore by 2012. The two
companies plan to scale up their solar power capacity plans to 100 MW by 2015 and to 1000 MW by
2020, the official said. “The board of HPCL deliberated this proposal at its last board meeting. Some
more details for the company’s foray into non-fossil fuels with BHEL have been sought by the board,”
Considering a debt-equity ratio of 70:30, the equity participation by both HPCL and BHEL will come to
Rs 52.50 crore each.
3. Canada based company to set up series of solar powered clean drinking
water station in Punjab
Internationally acclaimed, Quest Water Solutions (QWS), a Canada based alternative water
supply company, expressed its keenness to setup a state-of-the-art solar powered clean
drinking water station in the State, especially in the Malwa belt to treat the saline water.
As a pilot project the company would soon establish a demonstration project in one of the
saline prone villages of the Muktsar district in the cotton belt, which had a high incidence of
salinity in the water. Using the latest technology combined with solar or wind power QWS
become competitive and the water low cost. Clean drinking water would be provided at 10.35
paisa approximately. Over 400 solar purification systems have been successfully installed
worldwide in 15 countries viz Venezuela Mauritania Mexico, UAE, South Africa, Afganistan,
Pakistan, Kazakistan, Italy Chile and Australia including mobile units for remote locations.
4. Punjab targets 1,000 MW solar power
Faced with a severe power crunch, the Punjab government Saturday announced that it would
set up a chain of solar power plants over the next two years to generate nearly 1,000 MW of
electricity. The solar power plants will be set up in collaboration with US-based SunPower
Corporation and Enterprise Business Solutions (EBS), a state government spokesman said.
SunPower and EBS have been asked to set up a demonstration projects on rooftops of
government buildings for tapping solar energy. These will later on replicated in other
government buildings such as district administrative complexes, warehousing and Markfed
godowns, officials said. Sun Power representative Gurmeet Naroola told Badal and other
officials at a meeting that the company would invest nearly Rs.5 billion (Rs.500 crore) for the
project. EBS chairman and managing director Jessie Singh said that EBS-SunPower had
already started work for commissioning the first grid- connected 5 MW solar power plant at
Sahiba village in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district. It is likely to be operational by July
5. Intersolar India 2010 moves to Mumbai
On December 14, 2010, India's international exhibition for solar technology, Intersolar India, will
once more open its doors. Intersolar India is the leading international industry platform for
photovoltaics and solar thermal technology in India. 2010 will see Intersolar India take place for
the first time at the Bombay Exhibition Centre (BEC) in Mumbai.
Intersolar India focuses on the development of the Indian solar market as well as promoting
targeted cooperation between industry, commerce, service providers and politics within this
quickly developing market. The aim of the exhibition and conference is to encourage the growth
of the Indian solar market and to drive forward global networking within the solar industry.
6. Vortex Engineering leads India's first large-scale rollout of solar ATMs
Vortex Engineering, a pioneer and leading provider of Rural ATMs (Automated Teller Machines),
announced India's first large-scale rollout of Solar ATMs. This rollout follows the winning of an
order from State Bank of India for a deployment of 545 ATMs across semi-urban and rural India.
Of these 545 ATMs, over 300 will be solar-powered. Vortex's Solar-powered Gramateller Duo
ATMs have been developed in collaboration with IIT Madras. Built on years of R&D, with a steady
focus on rural needs, these are innovative low power consuming ATMs tailor-made for semi-
urban and rural areas.
A conventional ATM consumes about 1000 W of power and requires an air-conditioned
environment-another 1500 W-for functioning. Thus, a conventional ATM consumes about 1800
units of power every month. Vortex's Solar-powered Gramateller Duo ATMs consume less than
100 W of power and do not require air conditioning, thus consuming less than 72 units per
month. This indicates a saving of 1728 units per month and at least Rs 1,20,000 per year (at a
conservative commercial rate of Rs 6 per unit) when compared to a conventional ATM
7. Common Wealth Games 2010 to be ‘solar powered’ by Reliance
The solar energy initiative of Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL), RIL Solar Group, has successfully
implemented and commissioned India’s first 1MW solar plant on the roof of the Thyagaraj
Stadium in New Delhi.
Some of the salient features of the 1MW solar PV plant at the Thyagaraj Stadium include:
A kalzip(world-leading standing seam roofing and wall cladding system) type roof that minimizes
the use of mounting structures in the system
1. A total of 3,640 no of 280Wp modules with one of the highest efficiency of 14.1% have
been used in the project.
2. The entire system has been installed within a roof-space of 10,000 sq. m. (2.5 acres).
3. The inverters and power evacuation systems used in the project are the best in class and
have been executed by partnering with leading global companies to ensure best quality