Infosys Hyderabad – First fully Solar powered Corporate unit

Infosys will soon inaugurate its largest campus in the country, with the capacity of seating 25,000 people, in Pocharam, Hyderabad. Soon after, the company, in a post on the official website, has said that this campus will be India’s first fully solar powered corporate unit thanks to the launch of its solar PV power plant of 6.6 MW capacity at Pocharam in the state of Telangana.

The post on the Infosys website said that the solar plant will operate in combination with the existing 0.6 MW capacity rooftop solar plant. The plant, with a total capacity of 7.2 MW, has been successfully synchronised with the grid and is expected to generate 12 million kWh per annum. This initiative is expected to reduce the company’s CO2 emissions by 9,200 tons.

Infosys currently has 12 MW solar power plants (onsite) installed across its campuses, and another 3 MW is expected to be completed within the next two months, the post said.

While speaking about the development, Infosys CEO and Managing Director Vishal Sikka said, “Our company’s commitment to our broader purpose and to our communities, has always brought us great pride. The Infosys founders set this standard from the beginning, and we see this in the contributions of our employees to their communities and in times of crisis, such as the recent Chennai floods; we see this in the work of the Infosys Foundations; and we see this perhaps most clearly in our work in our facilities.”

“Our team, led by Ramadas Kamath, continues to set new standards in our commitments to reduce electricity consumption. Our beautiful Hyderabad campus is another great example of this commitment.”

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Modi government approves Rs 5,000 crore for solar rooftop

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved scaling up of budget from Rs 600 crore to Rs 5,000 crore for implementation of Grid Connected Solar Rooftop systems over a period of five years upto 2019-20 under the National Solar Mission (NSM). This will support installation of 4,200 MW Solar Rooftop systems in the country in the next five years.

The capital subsidy of 30 per cent will be provided for general category states/UTs and 70 per cent for special category states i.e., the North-Eastern States including Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Lakshadweep, Andaman & Nicobar Islands. There will be no subsidy for commercial and industrial establishments in the private sector since they are eligible for other benefits such as accelerated depreciation, custom duty concessions, excise duty exemptions and tax holiday etc. Recently the MNRE updated their policy regarding Central Financial Assistance (CFA) for Grid connected rooftop solar.

This capacity of 4,200 MWp will come up through the residential, government, social and institutional sector (hospitals, educational institutions etc.). Industrial & commercial sector will be encouraged for installations without subsidy. This will create a market and help build confidence of the consumers which will enable balance capacity through market mode to achieve the target of 40,000 MWp by 2022.

The government has revised the target of National Solar Mission (NSM) from 20,000 MWp to 1,00,000 MWp by 2022. Out of the stipulated target, 40,000 MWp is to come through grid connected solar rooftop systems. This approval will boost the installations in a big way and will act as a catalyst to achieve the goal of 40,000 MWp.

India has immense potential in generating solar energy

A large potential is available for generating solar power using unutilized space on rooftops in buildings. Solar power generated by each individual household, industrial, Institutional, commercial or any other type of buildings can be used to partly fulfil the requirement of the building occupants and surplus, if any, can be fed into the grid. So far, 26 states have notified their regulations to provide Net Metering/Gross metering facilities to support grid connected solar rooftop installations.

Today it is possible to generate solar power from the solar rooftop systems at about Rs.6.50/kWh. This is cheaper than the diesel gen-sets based electricity generation. It is also cheaper than the cost at which most DISCOMs would make power available to the industrial, commercial and high-end domestic consumers.

With the new initiative, India will emerge as a major country utilizing the roof space for solar rooftop systems on such a. large scale: This 40 GW will result in abatement of about 60 million tonnes of CO2 per year and will help to fulfil the commitment of India towards its contribution in mitigating the effect of Climate Change.

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Azure Power bags another 100 MW of solar projects

Azure Power, an Indian solar producer, has been awarded the right to build a 100 MW solar PV project in India at an auction held by Indian power generation company NTPC Limited.

Held as part of India’s ambitious National Solar Mission, the NTPC auction had a total project capacity of 1 GW, with Azure Power securing a favorable rate of INR 5.12/kWh ($0.08/kWh) for the solar plant, which will be constructed in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

This winning rate is 11% higher than the first two auctions priced in the same solar park, which were won by SunEdison and Japan’s SoftBank for a tariff of just INR 4.63/kWh ($0.07/kWh, but nevertheless represent a competitive strike price for India.

Azure Power beat nine other companies to secure the 100 MW project. A total of 150 MW was auctioned off during the tender, which was announced exclusively for PV projects that will use domestic solar cells and modules made in India as part of the government-backed “Make in India” campaign.

“We are proud to have successfully brought down the cost of solar power by almost 71% from INR 17.91/kWh to INR 5.12/kWh in this project,” said Azure Power CEO and founder Inderpreet Wadhwa. 

Azure Power has recently secured a further 150 MW solar project in the state of Punjab, securing the rights to develop with a winning bid of INR 5.63/kWh. The developer has also filed for a $100 million IPO on the New York Stock Exchange in recent weeks as it eyes funds for further expansion.

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India: 6.5 GW of solar to be auctioned in next 3 months

The solar industry saw a boom this year after Mr. Narendra Modi took charge of the PM office. The Modi government set the bar at 150GW of renewable energy by year 2020, in which 100GW capacity would be generated through solar power.

Recently, there was a meet of the world countries in Paris, France, where India proposed an International Solar Alliance of 122 countries. After the formation of the International Solar Alliance on the first day of CoP21, solar companies saw a rise in their stocks all over the world. In India, a total of 6.5 GW of solar projects are expected to be up for auction in the next three months.

In addition to intense competition, it forecasts a sharp reduction in tariffs, particularly for the upcoming auctions in Rajasthan and Karnataka.

Following the unveiling of its ambitious 100 GW 2020 solar plans, the Indian Government is “walking the talk”. Overall, auction processes for more than 10 GW of solar have already been completed, with another 6.5 GW set to go up for auction in the next three months.

The frenetic pace of activity is a big step-up in contrast to historic solar capacity addition of approximately 1 GW per annum over last three years. Despite the pipeline, prices are continuing to come down “sharply” with developers, including ReNew, Reliance and Azure Power, considering tariffs below INR 5/kWh.

Although criticism has been aimed at such low tariffs in the past but they are not a problem due to lower solar park charges in these states, and a relatively positive risk profile for international developers as there is no land acquisition or transmission connectivity risk combined with possibly the best India gives off-take risk in the form of NTPC.

In the next two months, the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is set to hold two auctions in Rajasthan and Karnataka, totaling 420 MW and 600 MW, respectively. There is expected to be “strong” competition, with tariffs potentially under INR 4.63/kWh.

In August, Madhya Pradesh began selling PV power at India’s lowest rate – INR 5.051/kWh, besting the previous lowest price set in Telangana by SkyPower, which secured a winning bid of INR 5.17/kWh.

Last week, the NTPC completed three solar auctions in Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan. The table below provides more detail:

NTPC solar auctions

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Andhra Pradesh Solar corp. sanctions 4,000 MW solar parks

Andhra Pradesh Solar Power Corporation Limited has achieved the distinction of sanctioning 4,000 MW of solar power generation parks under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. In doing so, it has been chosen as the best government nodal agency for solar energy push.

Andhra Pradesh Solar Power Corporation is a joint venture of AP Genco, New and Renewable Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh and Solar Power Corporation of India (SECI).

Ultra mega parks

The corporation has encouraged the setting up of ultra mega solar parks at Anantapur (1,500 MW), Kurnool (1,000 MW) and Kadapa (1,500 MW). Of the 27,263 acres required for implementation of these solar parks, 12,038 acres are already in the possession of the corporation. Acquisition of rest of the land is in progress.

For about 2500 MW solar capacity, developers have already been identified, tendering process is in advanced stage and EPC contracts will be awarded by January. For the remaining 1500 MW, 1000 MW has already been tendered out and 500 MW is close to completion.

Lower tariffs

In the Kurnool park, a lowest tariff of ₹4.63 per kWh was quoted by Sun Edison for 500 MW in Phase-1. In Phase-2, SB Energy promoted by SoftBank of Japan made its debut in Indian solar market with a tariff of ₹4.63 per kWh for 350 MW in open category.

For its role, the Corporation has bagged the Best Government Nodal Agency award for Solar under NSM-Solar Excellence and K.Vijayanand, Chairman of APSPCL, was chosen winner of the Sourya Ratna Award.

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SunEdison to invest $2 billion in solar, looks for Indian partner

Indian government launched “Make in India” initiative earlier this year and backing this initiative, the US-based renewables major SunEdison Inc is looking to invest up to $2 billion (Rs 13,200 crore) in the next one year in a polysilicon manufacturing facility in India.

Polysilicon is used as feedstock material in most solar energy applications.

Currently, SunEdison is in the process of identifying an Indian partner for the proposed investment, said the company’s CEO and President Ahmad R Chatila. “I am talking to people, but these things take longer than I would like. It took me two years to negotiate the deal with Samsung in Korea,” he said, referring to a similar JV in South Korea finalised last year.

The company is “looking at a few places” for the location of the proposed unit, but declined to give any more details.

This comes even as the solar and wind energy major is facing major financial headwinds. Not only has it been forced to sell some of its assets globally, it has had to walk away from a proposed takeover of wind major Continuum.

According to reports, Standard & Poor’s recently downgraded debt for TerraForm Power Inc and TerraForm Global Inc, the holding company for two SunEdison power plants.

The company also reportedly lost two-thirds of its market value this year as investors question its ability to fund wind and solar farms it’s planning to build or buy all over the world.

Along with other foreign investors, including Canada’s Skypower and Skypower backed SB Energy, SunEdison has been bidding aggressively in India’s fledgling solar energy sector, driving down tariffs to historic lows. This has even led some analysts to question the future viability of such projects.

“We have done 1,600 projects in the last 10 years, and not one project is stranded. We know how to execute… The headwinds are now being turned around step by step,” Chatila said.

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Vikram, Tata and Jakson win 260MW of EPC contracts in Rajasthan

Three separate developers have won 260MW of capacity on an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis for a solar park in the Indian state of Rajasthan.

India-based module manufacturer Vikram Solar won 2x65MW projects at INR 56.28 million/MW. Meanwhile EPC firm Jakson won 65MW capacity at INR 56.34 million/MW and Tata Power won another 65MW capacity at INR 56.60 million/MW.

The EPC contracts are for Bhadla solar park in Rajasthan for which India’s Domestic Content Requirement (DCR) rules apply. This means the solar projects must use locally sourced cells and modules.

Indian state-owned utility National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) will both develop and finance the projects.

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Solar Energy is the future : PM Modi

Addressing an event where PM Narendra Modi flagged off an electric bus, gifted by the Road Transport and Highways Ministry to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, to ferry MPs at Parliament, Mr. Modi today said there is a need to harness solar energy in order to eliminate the negative impact of environment pollution and secure the future of mankind.

“Discussions of environment have been taking for long, but for the last few years, its negative impact has been felt on normal human lives… There is a challenge before the mankind to find a solution to this problem,” Modi said.

He was clear that the countries are going to work to harness solar energy.

Referring to the recent COP21 summit in Paris, Mr. Modi highlighted two significant initiatives — Mission Innovation launched jointly by the US, France and India, with the help of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, on the development of green technologies and the creation of the International Solar Alliance of countries with abundant sunlight.

The headquarters of this alliance will be in Delhi, the Prime Minister said.

“There are 122 nations which get the benefit of sunlight for more than 300 days in a year. With India’s initiative, an organization of such nations has been formed,” Modi said.

Resolutions in Paris by world leaders include work on innovation to get fossil fuel-free energy, Modi added.

“US, France and India have taken initiatives for innovation. The Bill Gates Foundation has also been associated with it. A positive result will come by,” he hoped.

Congratulating Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on his contribution to environment and technology leading to the refurbished bus with no pollution, the PM suggested that the technology can be used in public transport as well.

Such buses would “not only significantly contribute in minimising pollution, but would encourage younger generation to come into research and making of batteries”.

“MPs will benefit from it. New generation can come forward in ‘Start up India’ and ‘Stand up India’ and contribute to initiatives like making batteries,” he said.

Modi saw a need for research to enhance battery life and said such initiatives under ‘Make in India’ will not just benefit the country, but the whole world as well.

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar was also present.

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MNRE update on Grid Connected Rooftop Power Plants

The notice is regarding Central Financial Assistance (CFA) of MNRE for installation of Grid Connected Rooftop Power Plants.

The Ministry implemented a ‘Grid Connected Rooftop and Small Solar Power Plants Programme’ back in June, 2014, in which the solar rooftop plants from 1.0 kWp to 500 kWp capacities are set up. The Ministry has set a target for installation of 100 GW solar power of which 40 GW is to come from Grid Connected Rooftop Solar Power plants.

A CFA (Central Financial Assistance) of 15% was announced in August, 2015 for various categories i.e. residential, institutional, governmental and social sector. Now, CFA pattern on grid connected rooftop solar systems is proposed to be retained as per existing ongoing scheme under implementation vide no 30/11/2012-13/NSM dated 26th June 2014 with following modifications:

  1. No CFA will be provided for commercial and industrial establishments in the private sector as they are eligible for other benefits such as accelerated depreciation, custom duty concessions, excise duty exemptions and tax holiday. Further, whenever they go to State Regulators for project specific tariff, the tariff depends on whether CFA is availed or not, and the tariff is decided accordingly. Hence, CFA will give no net benefit to the commercial and industrial establishments in the private sector.
  2. For all other sectors, the CFA pattern will remain the same that is, 30% of benchmark cost for general category States/UT and 70% for special category states i.e., Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Lakshadweep, Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

The Domestic Content Requirement (DCR) will be applicable for only those installations where CFA will be provided. No DCR will be applicable to commercial and industrial establishments in the private sector where CFA is not applicable.

The following benefits are also available for installations of Grid Connected Rooftop and Small Scale Solar Power Plants in the country besides, CFA of MNRE:

  1. Accelerated depreciation benefits for industrial and commercial buildings.
  2. Custom Duty concessions and Excise Duty Exemptions.
  3. 10 year Tax holiday.
  4. Provision of bank loans as a part of home loan/home improvement loan.
  5. Loans for system aggregators from Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) at concessional interest rates (9.9% to 10.75%).
  6. Loans available up to Rs. 15 Crore renewable energy projects and up to Rs. 10 Lakh for individual loans under Priority Sector Lending.

The CFA will be provided through State Nodal Agencies, State Departments, Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA), Empanelled Governmental Agencies/DISCOMs, PSUs of Central and State Government etc. and participating banks.

Click here for Original document.

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Azure Power win projects in 150MW Andhra Pradesh solar auction

Azure Power and Adani Group, two big developers in the Indian solar sector, won the 150MW capacity project available in Andhra Pradesh solar auction, which comes under the Domestic Content Requirement (DCR) category.

PV firm Azure Power won two projects with a combined capacity of 100MW quoting a tariff of INR 5.12/kWh.

Meanwhile Prayatna Developers, an arm of Adani Group, won one 50MW project with a tariff of INR5.13/kWh.

Developers winning capacity in the DCR projects are required to source their solar equipment from domestic manufacturers under the central government initiative.

The tariff for this DCR category is 10% higher than it was for open category projects in the state mainly due to the higher cost of domestic modules and the smaller size of these projects. The domestic modules would be 10-15% more expensive than modules imported from China and the developers would have also be accounted for a risk of any potential delay associated with the availability of the modules.

Other bidding developers that missed out on capacity were:

  • Yarrow Infrastructure – 5.14 (INR/kWh)
  • Hero Solar Energy – 5.25
  • ACME Solar – 5.36
  • Tata Power Renewable Energy – 5.41
  • NEEPCO – 5.70
  • Greenko Energies – 5.79
  • Renew Solar Power – 5.99
  • SkyPower Southeast Asia Holdings – 6.62

Yarrow Infrastructure once again narrowly missed out on winning any capacity having lost by a whisker in Andhra Pradesh’s 350MW National Solar Mission (NSM) auction earlier this week. In that auction, SBG Cleantech, a joint venture between Japan’s SoftBank, India’s Bharti Enterprises and Taiwan’s Foxconn, swept all 350MW and matched the previous record-low tariff in India of INR 4.63/kWh from SunEdison back in November. Both record low tariffs were for projects located in solar parks, where many development challenges are dealt with by government entities, and neither were subject to DCR requirements.

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