Delhi Govt to promote Solar projects at large scale

The Modi government has set a big target for the Solar generated power in India, and following in the steps of their leader, the Delhi government has also put the solar wheels in motion by setting up a target to produce 2000 MW of electricity through Solar by the year 2025.

In a conference organized by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), The Delhi power minister Satyendra Jain said that the Delhi government is targeting to produce 1000 megawatts of electricity by 2020 and 2000 megawatts (MW) by 2025 through Solar power generation in a phased manner, based on the Renewable Energy Service Company (RESCO) mode. The Delhi govt plans to achieve the 1,000 MW target in next 3-4 years’ time, with 30-40 MW as a target in the first year, 100 MW in the second year, 200 MW in the third year, followed by 400 MW and so on.

With financing in solar industry as the biggest challenge, the Delhi Power Minister suggested the financial institutions to introduce ‘solar power mutual funds, and luring the investors by providing assured units of power at a fixed rate.

The target may seem far sighted, but can be achieved if the Solar projects are provided with a fast track mechanism. Read More..

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WTO ruling Against India will not have Adverse Long Term Effects

WTO has ruled against India in a long-running dispute instigated by the US over the inclusion of domestic content requirements (DCR), which require some projects awarded contracts under India’s JNNSM national solar mission to use locally produced cells and modules.

The US claimed that the DCR discriminates against foreign players looking to access opportunities in India and therefore breaks global trade agreements.

Indian solar market observers have downplayed the likely impact of a World Trade Organization ruling against local content policies in India’s flagship solar programme.

WTO members are not meant to impose national content requirements that discriminate against foreign products and rules dictate that governments must also treat imports on a par with domestically manufactured products. Thus the new ruling will require the Indian government to level the playing field for both foreign and domestic manufacturers of solar panels.

The US first lodged its complaint in February 2013, and the WTO was forced to set up a dispute settlement panel in May 2014 after the US made a second request.

In the meantime, India dropped a separate investigation into alleged dumping of solar equipment by foreign players, including those from the US, in August last year. That investigation had threatened to sour relations between India and a number of countries eyeing the opportunities there for their domestic solar players.

In February this year, the WTO dispute panel then prepared to hear the US complaint over India’s domestic solar panel manufacturing. Meanwhile prime minster Narendra Modi’s government officially approved the hugely ambitious ramping up of its national solar target to 100GW by 2022, up from just 22GW.

The new WTO ruling contrasts with a visit to India in January by US president Barack Obama, which saw a number of advances in the two countries’ clean energy partnership, including a pledge by Obama to invest US$2 billion of US Trade and Development Agency money in Indian renewable energy projects.

The ruling also comes as the Indian government seeks to support manufacturing in India, with prime minister Narendra Modi last year introducing a ‘Make in India’ initiative to attract foreign investment and boost India’s manufacturing industry.

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Petrol Pumps to Use Solar Energy for meeting Power needs

Solar panels or solar-wind hybrid systems and not electricity grids will power more than 2,000 fuel outlets in India by the end of the year.

The initiative to go green, by order of the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, will reduce the outlets’ dependency on electricity and diesel that power their generators during power cuts.

Dealers of oil majors Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum will have to pay the cost to set up the renewable power systems. The companies will ensure a dealer receives a subsidy of up to 40% to set up the equipment required.

A 1kW solar system costs between Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 2.5 lakh but, according to estimates by oil companies, the dealer will save up to Rs 20,000 per month on power bills.

The ministry has set a target of 2,150 solar fuel-powered outlets across the country in the current year.

“Now that solar power can be optimally used with battery storage systems, we’re encouraging dealers to set up solar systems with a capacity of between 1kW and 25kW,” IOC chief divisional sales manager V C Asokan said. ” By going green the dealers will save anywhere between Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000 per month, depending upon on their power consumption.”

The oil companies will primarily target fuel outlets in rural areas, where electricity supply can be dodgy, to renewable energy systems.

“Rural areas face power cuts for many hours a day and fuel outlets in such areas now use generators to operate their pumps,” Asokan said. “By setting up solar power systems, they will not be dependent on the grid for power.”

The Lotus Xangpo Memorial fuel station in Leh in May became the world’s highest altitude retail outlet to exclusively use solar energy. The retail outlet replaced its diesel generators with a solar power system and now saves approximately Rs 30,000 a month.

Oil company officials said 1,500 IOC outlets, 350 BPC outlets and 300 HPC outlets will be operating on solar power by the end of the year.

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World’s Largest Solar Park in Madhya Pradesh

The world’s largest 750 Mega Watts (MW) solar power station will be built in Rewa district’s Gudh area, Madhya Pradesh’s Energy Minister Rajendra Shukla said today.

“Global tenders for commissioning the solar power station in an area over 1,500 hectares at Bandwar region in Gudh tehsil of Rewa, will be invited shortly,” said Mr Shukla.

The plant is expected to start generating solar energy by March 2017.

The project — Rewa Ultra Mega Solar — is a joint venture of Solar Energy Corporation of India and MP Urja Vikas Nigam, where in both parties have 50 per cent stake, he added.

According to him, the project will come up on barren government land as 1 MW power generation needs two hectares of land.

At present, world’s largest solar power project – Ivanpah Solar Power Facility of 392 MW — is at Mojave deserts in California, United States, the minister informed.

In February last year, Narendra Modi, as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, inaugurated Asia’s largest solar power project at Neemuch.

As per reports, Welspun’s solar power project in Neemuch, some 400 km from here, had come up at a cost of around Rs. 1,100 crore on 305 hectares of land.

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Solar Rooftop maybe Mandatory in Chennai

The city planners in Chennai are contemplating about making it mandatory for all multi-storied buildings to install rooftop solar panels to generate green energy.

This comes as the Union government is implementing a ‘Grid Connected Rooftop and Small Solar Power Plants Programme’ that encourages the installation of solar rooftop systems across the country.

It is learnt that development regulations under the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act would be altered to make it mandatory for all multi-storied buildings to harness grid-connected solar energy.

With an installed capacity of about 3000MW solar power, the share of solar energy is about 2 per cent in the country. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has proposed to scale up Grid Connected Solar Power targets from 20,000 MW to 1,00,000 MW by 2022. The target includes 40,000 MW roof-top solar photovoltaic cells and 57,000 MW large solar projects.

Meanwhile, the reaction of real estate developers on the proposed move is mixed.

“This proposal is okay for office buildings but for high-rise buildings it would be difficult,” said the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI) Chennai president Ajith Chordia.

“In high rise residential areas, there is hardly any space for harnessing grid-connected solar energy,” said Chordia.

However, CREDAI’s national chairman for Best Practices T Chitty Babu welcomed the move stating that developers could harness grid connected solar energy in common area facilities like gymnasium, street lights, swimming pool, genset, club etc.  However, the onus of setting up solar panels for individual apartments was with the buyers, he said.

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Loan available for Solar Rooftop Installations in Chandigarh

Good news for all those looking to install solar rooftop PV plants in Chandigarh. Banks are now offering loans for installation of solar rooftop power plants in the city.

Chandigarh Renewal Energy, Science and Technology Promotion Society (CREST) organized a conference on “Be a proud solar power producer” on the occasion of ‘Akshay Urja Diwas’ at the UT Guest House, where a representative of a private bank offered loan on the installation of solar plants.

Private bank representatives informed people that loan for the installation of solar rooftop plants could be taken under three categories-

  • Home loan
  • Home improvement loan
  • Loan for installation of solar power plant

The rate of interest would be around 11.50%.

At the conference, representatives of Resident Welfare Associations were invited to sensitize the people regarding installation of the rooftop solar power plants in Chandigarh.The conference was inaugurated by UT Adviser Vijay Kumar Dev and also attended by Home Secretary Anurag Aggarwal, Director Science and Technology and CEO CREST, Santosh Kumar and UT’s Superintending Engineer (Electricity) MP Singh.

Dev said the Chandigarh Administration was committed to develop Chandigarh as a Model Solar City. He emphasised that renewable energy was the need of the hour and it was high time that cities of India which were major source of electricity consumption started producing solar energy.He also announced that on the ‘Akshay Urja Diwas’ next year, the Resident Welfare Associations that would install maximum number of solar power plants would get an award of Rs1 lakh from CREST, UT, Chandigarh.

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NTPC Invites Bids for 750MW Solar Projects in Andhra Pradesh

National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has invited bids for 750MW of solar PV projects in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

The tender is for six projects of 125MW each located at Anantpur.

The inivitation was put out today and technical bidding will open on 29 October this year. For details click here.

Mercom Capital Group’s latest quarterly report on India said that members of the solar industry are concerned about NTPC’s plans to set up solar manufacturing in India and to enter the commercial solar market.

This week NTPC has also invited bids for 100MW of solar PV projects in the state of Uttar Pradesh under the National Solar mission (NSM) Phase-II, Batch-II, Tranche-I.  The bids will be for 10 projects with a capacity of 10MW each. For details of Uttar Pradesh bidding click here.

NTPC was also reported to be inviting bids for dollar-based solar power contracts in order to encourage foreign investment in its ambitious solar programme.

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Adani still looking for solar manufacturing partners

According to sources, the Adani Group has approached Japan’s Softbank and Foxconn, to secure an investment of $3 billion to make solar cells and solar panels in India. Earlier though, Adani had made a deal with the solar giant SunEdison for $4 billion for the same project.

The Modi government expects renewable energy to yield business worth $160 billion in India, based on visioned power generation target, in the next five years. Foreign investments in the solar energy market is seeing a great hike this year with Softbank, Foxconn and Bharti Enterprises already having pledged to about $20 billion for various solar projects in India. Now, Adani, one of India’s largest conglomerates, haven struck a deal with Japan’s Softbank and Taiwan’s Foxconn to invest about $3 billion into the solar cells and panels manufacturing projects in India, will provide a big support to Modi’s  efforts to promote manufacturing in solar sector and create new jobs.

Earlier this year, Adani had struck a same deal with solar power firm SunEdison for $4 billion, which now seems to have gone sore as “they were charging too much on the technology fee”, said a source from Adani Group. SunEdison declined to make any comment.

SunEdison’s president and CEO, Ahmad Chatila, had highlighted that the purpose of the MOU was to significantly minimise SunEdison’s involvement in manufacturing as well as its capital contribution. An MOU with the government of Saudi Arabia would have made better sense, but Adani is not cash rich on any scale you want to use. To that, SunEdison is also dealing with debts of around US$10 billion and, this deal for US$4 billion capital requirement was not going to be easy between the groups.

Both SoftBank and Foxconn have billionaire owners and want to be major project developers in India. Therefore, this move by Adani to go after SoftBank and Foxconn as its new manufacturing partners makes a lot more sense.

Though, the deal is yet to be finalised, but as Softbank and Foxconn already have commitments for investments in India, can directly inject money into the project. Adani is planning to set up a manufacturing plant in Mundra, Gujarat to produce 3 gigawatts (GW) of solar cells and panels, helping turn sunlight directly into electricity at cheaper rates. The first phase of 1 GW will be completed by 2018 and the company has already started buying equipment for it.

Modi has set clean renewable energy targets including solar capacity of 100 GW by 2022. To meet the projected targets, the Modi government is reluctant on bringing foreign players into the solar sector for investments and to aspire local players to “make in India”.

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SECI to award 750MW solar capacity in Gujarat, Maharshtra

Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) director announced that 500MW and 250MW solar capacity will be up for auction in Maharashtra and Gujarat States of India over the coming weeks.

The bids are part of the second phase of the National Solar Mission through which capacity of at least 2 gigawatts will be auctioned featuring 21 billion rupees ($322 million) of government-funded support. Of the remaining capacity, tenders for 500 megawatts each will be offered in the southern states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in a month and later in Uttar Pradesh in the north.

SECI may follow a Viability Gap Funding tender process for awarding these projects.

Read more here.

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For solar projects, ReNew Power considering Swiss PE funds

Renew Power solar India

Renew Power logo

ReNew Power Ventures, a renewable energy developer, is in talks with Switzerland-based private equity (PE) firm Partners Group AG to raise $150-200 million for 400MW of solar power.

ReNew Power, in which Goldman Sachs has a majority stake, has close to 600MW of installed and operational renewable energy capacity across Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana. Currently, ReNew Power has a portfolio of 14 operational wind power projects located in four states that are capable of generating close to 545MW. The company also has a pipeline of close to 250MW in solar power projects across India.

ReNew Power raised $140 million from three investors—Asian Development Bank, South Asia Clean Energy Fund India and Goldman Sachs in July 2014. Earlier, in September 2011, ReNew Power raised Rs.1,000 crore from Goldman Sachs, which was the largest investment in India’s renewable energy sector at the time.

Private Equity firms have shown increasing interest in renewable energy assets in India, where the government has set a target of generating 100,000MW of solar power and 60,000MW of wind power by 2022 in a country that’s the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind only the US and China.

Experts expect more deals in the space as the cost of solar power projects falls. Solar and wind energy are nearing grid parity—a point in time at which they will cost the same as power produced from traditional sources and available on the nation’s transmission and distribution grid. At the same time, experts are wary about the weak finances of state electricity boards (SEBs) that purchase power from independent producers and distribute it to consumers. SEBs are laden with a debt of Rs.3.04 trillion and accumulated losses of Rs.2.52 trillion.

According to the government, the Indian clean energy market is largely driven by asset-based finance to the extent of 94% of the total investment in the sector. Renewable energy accounts for only 35,777MW of India’s total power generation capacity of 272,503MW.

Read more here.

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