Solar tariffs in India hitting Rs 5 per kWh

Solar tariffs in India are set to hit a new low with the tender for 500 MW of capacity offered under the national solar mission (NSM) in Andhra Pradesh receiving huge investor interest last week. In response to tenders for setting up 10 projects of 50 MW each, bids totalling around 5,500 MW were received.

This has set the stage for aggressive tariffs to be quoted by the developers, with Rs.5 per kWh tariff becoming the new norm. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has pushed renewable energy to the top of its energy security agenda and is looking to provide green power at less than Rs.4.50 per unit.

Consider, the price of power generated by the state-owned NTPC Ltd, India’s largest power generation utility. In the last financial year, the average rate of electricity sold by NTPC’s coal-fuelled projects was Rs.3.25 per unit, while the tariff of power from its other projects ranged between Rs.2 and Rs.4.50 a unit. NTPC has already articulated its intent to supply electricity from 10,000 MW of solar power capacity that it is setting up on its own at Rs.3.20 per unit by bundling it with unallocated power to bring tariffs down. In addition, it plans to sell electricity at around Rs.5 per unit for 15,000 MW that it is buying on behalf of the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) and earn 7 paise per unit in return.

India will award contracts for the supply of 15,000 MW this year. A number of utilities and private equity (PE) firms are trying to get a slice of India’s growing green energy pie. These include NYSE-listed Brookfield Asset Management, Switzerland-based PE firm Partners Group AG, infrastructure investment manager I Squared Capital, Dubai’s PE firm Abraaj Group and Doha-based Nebras Power QSC. A subsidiary of Singapore-based Sembcorp Industries Ltd acquired a 60% stake in IDFC Alternatives-backed renewable energy firm Green Infra Ltd for S$227 million in February.

However, concerns remain about the payment for this solar power by the state electricity boards (SEBs), which are weighed down by Rs.3 trillion in accumulated losses.

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Uttarakhand invites Bids for 170MW of Solar Power

Uttarakhand has invited bids for 170MW of grid-connected solar power capacity.

The land prices are very expensive in the state & also, the state has abundant hydro power resources. Hence, the push for solar does not seem appropriate.

India’s Central Government is currently developing green energy corridors to transport power from states with abundant renewable resources such as Rajasthan and Gujarat to major centres of energy use such as Delhi and Maharashtra. But adding Uttarakhand to this green energy corridor won’t add much value as the state has limited solar potential.

On 17 September, the Uttarakhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (UREDA) invited bids for projects at a minimum capacity of 100kW and a maximum of 50MW, under 25-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) with the state utility Uttarakhand Power Corporation Limited (UPCL). The tender comes under the ‘Uttarakhand Solar Power Policy-2013’ and the deadline for bidding is 12 October this year.

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India at third spot in latest RECAI by Ernst & Young

Shifts in renewable energy policy is the defining factor of the latest EY Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI), published Wednesday.

The Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index is a quarterly ranking of 40 countries based on the attractiveness of their renewable energy investment and deployment opportunities, according to a number of macro, energy market, and technology-specific indicators. Published by EY, the Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI) is one of the premier guidelines for determining the vertical movement of a country’s renewable energy policy.

For the first time since the RECAI was established in 2003, the United Kingdom has dropped out of the top 10. Specifically, according to EY’s accompanying press release, “a wave of policy revisions to reduce or remove support for onshore wind and solar projects in the UK threaten to paralyze the industry”

But the UK wasn’t the only country to fall in the RECAI, with several countries suffering negatively from policy changes, including Germany, Spain, and Australia — each of which fell, to be replaced by increasingly more attractive markets, such as Brazil and Chile. Brazil especially, which stepped up into 8th place in the top 10, has regularly been highlighted lately for the growth of its renewable energy industry. Brazil and Chile represent the “hottest” of Latin America’s markets, cementing their respective positions in the RECAI top 10.

“Policy changes still have an immense impact on renewable energy deployment and the RECAI movements reveal some policymakers are listening to market signals more than others,” said Ben Warren, EY’s Global Power & Utilities Corporate Finance Leader and RECAI Chief Editor.

However, maybe the most interesting change from an outsiders point of view is that of the top two spots, with China and the US swapping places to place the US back atop the pile. EY highlights “President Barack Obama’s much-awaited Clean Power Plan (CPP)” as the primary reason for the United States’ reascension, which it says “sends a strong message of accountability at the state-level for the shift to a low-carbon economy and is expected to galvanize a significant increase [in] renewable energy investment over the next 15 years.”

India moved one place up, to third position. While Germany slided down to fourth.


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TN: Solar power mandatory for all new highrises

The Tamil Nadu government, on Tuesday, has decided to make it mandatory for all new highrise (more than four floors) buildings in the state to have solar power generation facility.

Chief minister J Jayalalithaa said that the rule would be applicable to all group developments (with more than eight dwelling units) also. In effect, it will cover almost 90% of residential and commercial developments in cities like Chennai and Coimbatore.

In 2001, the government came with a similar eco-friendly initiative in the housing sector when rainwater harvesting structures were made mandatory for all buildings. The Tamil Nadu state is also a pioneer in the renewable energy sector with an installed wind energy capacity of more than 8,000MW, and has come out with a policy for pushing solar power generation.

“As the cities grow and the living standard of citizens is transforming, the demand for power also goes up. Keeping in mind the commitment to generate clean energy, all buildings will have to install solar power panels,” the CM said. To make it compulsory, the government would introduce amendments in the law, she said.

Officials said the rules regarding solar panel installation in new buildings were yet to be framed and hence the government is yet to set any minimum requirement with regard to the generation capacity for buildings. However, it would depend on the size of buildings – bigger the building, higher the generation capacity, said an official.

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Rajasthan’s first 200kW rooftop solar PV system

Clay Craft India, largest manufacturer and retailer of fine bone china and ceramic tableware, in collaboration with Su-Kam Power Systems is set to build Rajasthan’s first 200 kW rooftop grid tied solar power plant for captive consumption at company’s manufacturing facility.

Clay Craft India will become the first company in VKI Jaipur area to use renewable energy. With the project in its second phase, an installation of an additional 100 KW rooftop solar systems, it will become Rajasthan’s first manufacturing company using 200 KW rooftop solar PV systems in total. Mr. Rajesh Agarwal, Director, Clay Craft India Pvt. Ltd. said, “Clay Craft is having India’s largest automatic manufacturing plant of bone china and ceramic tableware in Rajasthan. Being the largest on production side, we need uninterrupted power supply to fulfill the committed domestic and export demand. Using renewable energy is industry’s first initiative in the state. This step has made us completely independent for using own power systems which will also save nearly Rs. 24.48 Lakhs of operational cost annually.”

Su-Kam Power Systems Ltd.’s business associate Sky Solar’s Shree Gajendra said, “Clay Craft India is a unique case study for us in Rajasthan. Based on our power consumption study made on this company it requires approximate power energy of 10 lakhs units annually. With new set-up of solar power energy systems it will be able to save 2.72 lakhs of units every year.” Su-Kam was given the overall responsibility of designing, supplying, testing and commissioning of the solar power plant.

The entire system consists of two string inverters of 50 KW each and 400 solar PV panels of 250 watt each. The power generated from the solar system will suffice part of their energy requirement to run the heavy machineries like furnaces, printers, air conditioners, computers etc. The surplus energy required will be fulfilled by the energy supplied through the utility.

Spread across 35,000 square meter area, Clay Craft production facility has a production capacity of 110,000 pieces per day for Bone China and Ceramic Tableware and 80,000 pieces per day for Plastic-ware. The main production line is tuned to handle large volumes of Bone China crockery in a variety of shapes and combinations.

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Draft of Delhi Solar Energy Policy

Delhi Solar Energy Policy draft, aimed at generating 1,000MW solar power in the next five years, was released by minister Satyendar Jain. The draft has been put in the public domain for comments and will be finalized and submitted to Delhi government after 15 days. Draft of Delhi solar energy policy can be viewed here.

“Delhi, with almost 300 sunny days a year, has great potential for solar energy generation,” said chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. Jain added that a tender for 5MW solar power generation had been floated. “We have a target to generate 1,000MW solar power in next five years and 2,000MW by 2025,” he said.

“Solar panels will be installed on the rooftops of every government building starting with Delhi Secretariat,” Jain said. The conference was hosted by Delhi Dialogue Commission (DDC) and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Management Centre of the power department. It was attended by several members of the Indian solar industry, discoms, consultancies, banks, state regulatory body, NGOs, research institutions, experts from Germany, and government officials.

The draft outlines a combination of regulations, mandates, incentives, and tax breaks for the growth of rooftop solar power. “The state’s financial assistance for solar energy will not take the form of capital subsidies but low-cost financing options for all consumers,” added Jain.

The draft promotes net metering for all solar plants above 1kW based on regulations issued by DERC in 2014.

“The draft also provides an generation-based incentive of Rs 2 per solar energy unit in domestic segment for three years. Also, exemption of tax on solar energy and waiving VAT on solar plant components including panels and inverters, for five years has been provided,” said officials.

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SunEdison rooftop solar systems powers DMRC

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) opened its newest Badarpur-Faridabad line to the public recently and is the first of many routes that will run on solar power.

Global renewable energy firm SunEdison has installed eight rooftop solar systems along the Badarpur-Faridabad line, which will generate about 1.9 MW of clean and cost effective solar power. This is the first of many routes in DMRC network to integrate solar into the design of the building. This is just one in a series of projects that will help meet the recent directive of the Ministry of Power that requires coal-fired plants to bundle their electricity with solar generated power.

The SunEdison’s rooftop solar systems have been installed on the roofs of the stations and depot and are expected to generate 2.5 gigawatt-hours of solar power annually and avoid the emission of 1,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, the equivalent of taking 363 cars off the road or preventing more than 800 metric tons of coal from being burned. About two million people daily will rely on this clean and reliable energy through DMRC. These rooftop systems took only about two months to build and will generate cost effective and clean energy for another 25-30 years with minimal maintenance. SunEdison is even building 1.7 MW solar syatems for DMRC at Yamuna Bank station and Yamuna Bank yard. The maintenance for these projects will be handled by SunEdison Services that provide 24/7 global asset management, monitoring and reporting services.

The SunEdison rooftop solar systems installed on the Faridabad line represent the DMRC’s commitment to clean energy and bringing best technology and expertise to support its network, a DMRC representative said.

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Rajasthan airports to have Solar Power

After the successful unveiling of the worlds first airport that is fully operated on Solar power, the AAI (airport authority of India) has declared to install Solar units at major airports of Rajasthan.

Rajasthan state’s capital, Jaipur, already has a solar plant with the capacity of 100 kW, initially set up on the rooftop and according to the new plan, another plant with a capacity of 1800 kW would come up on the ground, beyond safety area and close to boundary wall.

AAI has drafted a plan of which Rs. 13-14 crore will be spent to run Jaipur airport’s internal power requirement on solar energy by the end of this fiscal year. Jaipur Airport requires nearly 2000 kW of electricity for lighting, air-conditioning, runway lights and navigational aid, which would be met by solar power. Conventional source of power would be there for a balance with solar energy, there would be devices to keep the balance of power generation from solar and conventional electricity source.

Similarly, a 100 kW solar power station has been set up at Jodhpur airport as well and efforts are underway to provide solar power facility at Jaisalmer and Bikaner airport respectively.

AAI is also actively working on the airport at Kishangarh.

Similar solar photo-voltaic power plants are proposed for Amritsar, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Varanasi and other regional airports, an AAI official said.

AAI would meet solar plants’ expenditure from its own budget and if required, it could go to private developers for setting up the solar plants with a probable contract of 25 years.

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Modi – Coal & Solar power will join hands

The Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi has ordered India’s oldest Coal Power plants to make solar farms more competitive by bundling electricity from both technologies for sale to the grid.

The decision dated July 17 requires NTPC to sell the cheaper coal power along with the more expensive solar power as a single unit. The effect of the order is to reduce the price distribution companies pay for solar power and force them to take more of the cleaner form of energy. The lower price ensures the competitiveness of solar power in the wholesale market, thus easing the search for alternative buyers.

This mechanism is new in India, where the state-run distribution companies have been losing money because they are unable to charge customers enough to cover the costs of electricity they buy in the market. The program will also help persuade distributors to buy solar power and support Modi’s goal of having 100 GW of solar capacity by 2022, up from 4 gigawatts now.

The order says plants “that complete 25 years shall be used for solar capacity being established by NTPC.” NTPC will set up 15 GW solar plants by 2019 under this program. Power distribution companies may resist buying bundled power as the average cost of procurement is already higher than the billing rate.

The plants covered by the program include coal-fired units named Singrauli, Korba, Rihand Stage I and Ramagundam, which will complete 25 years in service in 2016. Another, Vindhyachal Stage I, will pass that threshold in 2017. Together, the plants have a total capacity of 8,960 megawatts.

Singrauli in North India is the first coal plant to take part in the program. The 1,700-megawatt unit’s output will be sold along with power from 3 gigawatts of solar installations.

India’s clean energy sector is struggling with the reluctance of electricity distribution companies, saddled with over 2.5 trillion rupees of losses, to buy more expensive green power. There’s questions whether the coal plants involved will last long enough to be much use to the solar industry.

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Global Green Energy Firms Look to enter India

Global green energy firms like NRG Energy Inc & Canada’s TransAlta are keen on entering the Indian renewable energy sector. While NRG has an installed capacity of 50,000 megawatts (MW), TransAlta is Canada’s largest publicly traded power generator and marketer of electricity and renewable energy. India needs as much as $250 billion to meet its target of installing 100 gigawatts of solar power and 60,000MW of wind power by 2022.

A senior government official said many firms are scouting for investments in the green energy development and manufacturing space. The National Democratic Alliance government has pushed renewable energy to the top of its energy security agenda and is looking to provide green power at less than Rs.4.50 per unit.

There has been growing interest from overseas investors in the Indian renewable energy space. Russia’s OAO Rosneft, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, US-based First Solar and China’s Trina Solar are among the firms looking for opportunities to participate in India’s solar energy sector. In June, SoftBank, along with Bharti Enterprises Ltd and Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology, proposed to invest at least $20 billion in solar energy projects in India through a joint venture, SB Cleantech Ltd.

Also, a number of utilities and private equity (PE) firms are trying to get a slice of India’s growing green energy pie. These include NYSE-listed Brookfield Asset Management, Switzerland-based PE firm Partners Group AG, infrastructure investment manager I Squared Capital, Dubai’s PE firm Abraaj Group and Doha-based Nebras Power QSC.

A subsidiary of Singapore-based Sembcorp Industries Ltd acquired a 60% stake in IDFC Alternatives-backed renewable energy firm Green Infra Ltd for S$227 million in February. In the same month, Actis Capital committed $230 million to create an Indian renewable energy platform called Ostro Energy Pvt. Ltd. SunEdison recently agreed to acquire Continuum Wind Energy Ltd.




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