Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Govt targets 1.75L MW green power by 2022; to set up 5 UMPPs

Trying to strike a balance between clean and conventional energy, government today set a target of 1.75 lakh MW from green power as also plans to set up 5 UMPPs entailing investments of about Rs 1 lakh crore. 

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his first full-year Budget for 2015-16, said: "Five more ultra mega power projects (UMPPs), under the plug and play model will be set up with total investments of Rs 1 lakh crore." UMPP is a coal-fired power plant that has 4,000 MW generation capacity. 

Jaitley also announced renewable power production target of 1,75,000 MW by the year 2022. 

Of this, solar power will have a lion's share of 1,00,000 MW, followed by 60,000 MW from wind energy, 10,000 MW biomass energy and 5,000 MW of small hydro projects. 

As for pushing UMPPs, Jaitley said that under the "plug and play" system, coal blocks will be auctioned after they are granted various clearances to speed up and simplify mining and get better valuation. 

The proposal for setting up the thermal plants follows government's scrapping price bids for two proposed UMPPs -- Bedabahal (Odisha) and Cheyyur (Tamil Nadu). The bids were cancelled as they received tepid response from the private sector and funding issues raised by bankers. 

The Power Ministry has now appointed a panel which is reviewing the situation and examining the documents to determine if the methodology adopted at the time of tendering these projects was fair. 

One of the proposed UMPPs is likely to be set up in power starved state of Bihar. The proposed plant in Bihar may be fed from a mine either in Jharkhand or Odisha. 

Power Minister Piyush Goyal had said in November that sufficient number of coal blocks will be allotted for the purpose. 

Power Finance Corporation (PFC) is the nodal agency for UMPPs in the country. 

So far, 4 UMPPs have been awarded, of which Sasan (Madhya Pradesh), Krishnapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and Tilaiya (Jharkhand) have been bagged by Reliance Power. Tata Power is operating the Mundra UMPP in Gujarat.

Tangedco starts signing deal with solar developers

Chennai: Two years after the State government came out with the solar energy policy, the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) has started signing power purchase agreements (PPA) with solar developers.
A senior Tangedco official told DC that they had signed PPAs with six solar developers for a quantum of 35 MW. “These are small projects with a capacity of 5 to 6 MW each,” the official said.

After the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) fixed a solar tariff of Rs 7.01 per unit on September 12 last year with a validity of one year, nearly 78 solar developers offered to set up 2300 MW plants in the state, the official said, adding that the commission approved the draft PPA on January 22 after which, on Wednesday, the Tangedco commenced the process of signing agreements with the developers.
“We are ready to sign agreements with all the solar developers as we wanted to achieve the target of 3,000 MW of solar power by 2015,” the official said, adding that there was hesitation among the developers who were planning to set up large capacities as they would not be able to commission them to the full before the end of September 12, 2015, until when the Rs 7.01 per unit tariff was valid. 
The official said that unless the TNERC extended the time to March 2016, big players would not come forward to set up their plants. Soltech Equipments managing director T. Sriraman said that they were planning to sign a PPA to set up a 100-MW solar project in Ramanathapuram district. He said that they were expecting an extension of time as the banks would not be able to sanction finances before May. 
With the PPA being signed at the fag end of the financial year, the banks would be processing their new financial proposal  in the next fiscal year by May, he said, adding that this meant that the project would be delayed by two or three months.

Telangana working out plans to bridge power shortage gap

The Telangana government is exploring various alternatives to bridge the gap of about 200 MW of estimated net power shortage during this summer. Swapping of RLNG with natural gas and possible connectivity with Eastern Grid via Vijayawada-Nellore corridor are the two options being actively considered for availing 500 MW more, as per the information shared by the Telangana Energy Principal Secretary, Aravind Kumar.

Based on previous years’ demand, a shortfall of 900 MW to 1,000 MW is projected State-wide for the next three months, Mr. Kumar said, while interacting with the media on the sidelines of ‘Solar Energy Investment and Technology Forum’ here on Wednesday.

Of this, about 250-300 MW will be met through naphtha-based production in the existing plants run by independent power producers while supply of 500 MW is expected from the NTPC’s Kayamkulam plant in Kerala, which is also naphtha-based. Further, Thermal Powertech Corporation owned by Gayatri Projects is already supplying 100 MW.

The Power Grid Corporation of India has expressed optimism that the Vijayawada-Nellore corridor may become functional in near future, and if it happens, 500 MW may be availed from the central pool through High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission at Gajuwaka.

On the non-renewable front, Mr. Kumar said bids will be called for setting up of solar power plants of another 1,000 MW capacity in the coming 15 days, in addition to the 505 MW for which bids are already finalised and signing of PPAs is under way. Power, thereof, would be connected to the grid latest by March next.

Further, extension might be given to solar projects of about 250 MW which could not be launched on time due to State bifurcation.

The aim is to reach the goal of 5,000 MW of non-renewable energy through private producers in the coming four years. Interest is also expressed by public sector companies such as NTPC, National Hydroelectric Power Corporation and North Eastern Electric Power Corporation to set up solar plants, provided that the State government offers land. Process is on to work out the cost for such power, Mr. Kumar informed.

Source: The Hindu

US firms plan to build 20,000 MW solar power in India

New Delhi: US solar firms SunEdison and First Solar have announced plans to build more than 20,000 megawatts of solar energy capacity in India by 2022.

"India has a critical need to add capacity to its grid as it continues to experience strong economic growth and growing demand for energy," said Pashupathy Gopalan, president of SunEdison Asia-Pacific.The companies' India plans were announced Sunday at the start of the first Renewable Energy Global Investors Meet and Expo (Re-Invest) here being held Feb 15-17 to attract large scale investments for solar and wind power generation in the country. The three-day meet was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
SunEdison said it would build 15,200 MW of solar and wind power capacity by 2022, while First Solar made a commitment to develop 5,000 MW by 2019.
The Rajasthan government recently entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Sun Edison India and Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services for establishing a solar park with a generation capacity of 5,000 MW.
India wants to raise its energy mix from renewables to 15 percent, from the current six percent in a period of 10-12 years, Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal told the conference.
The government has revised upwards the target of solar power generation from 20,000 MW by 2022 to 100,000 MW by 2020.
Towards increasing the use of clean energy, the India-US nuclear agreement, concluded during President Barrack Obama's visit here last month, has eased the way for foreign firms to develop nuclear energy in India.
Source: Zee News

Govt plans to set up 25 solar power parks to promote renewable power generation

The union minister of state for coal, power and renewable energy, Piyush Goyal, said that the government is ambitious to promote clean energy in the country.
He also outlined the Modi government's plans of increasing renewable power generation in the country.
"We are encouraging setting up of solar power projects through measures like grant of subsidy on off-grid applications, provision for renewable purchase obligation for solar in the National Tariff Policy, concessional import and excise duty exemption for setting up of solar power plants, accelerated depreciation and tax holiday, generation-based incentive and facility for bundled power for grid-connected solar power," he said, adding there are projects through various interventions announced from time to time.
Several research and development efforts have been initiated for new technologies and improvement in efficiency.
The government has accorded in-principle approval for setting up solar parks in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Punjab and Telangana.
Projects under central or state schemes shall come up in these solar parks. Goel also said that various schemes have been launched to set up grid-connected solar power plants.
This includes setting up of 25 solar parks and ultra-mega solar power projects of aggregate capacity of 20,000 MW in various states and pilot-cum-demonstration project of 100 MW for development of grid connected solar photo voltaic power plants on canal banks and canal tops.
There is also a scheme for setting up 1,000 MW of Grid-Connected Solar PV Power Projects by Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs) with Viability Gap Funding (VGF) under Batch-V of Phase-II of JNNSM.
All states have been requested to identify land for establishment of solar parks.
No proposal, however, has been received under this scheme from the Haryana. The ministry is promoting generation of electricity from various agro-residues including paddy straw.
A target of 400 megawatt biomass power projects for the 12th plan period and 100 megawatt during the current financial year has been set up.
Besides, fiscal incentives such as accelerated depreciation, concessional customs duty, excise duty exemption, income tax holiday for 10 years and preferential tariff are provided for biomass power projects.
The Central Financial Assistance of Rs 25 lakh per megawatt in special category states and Rs 20 lakh per megawatt for other states with a cap of Rs 1.50 crore per project is being provided by the ministry for setting up of the biomass power projects.

Tamil Nadu to Buy 3,000 MW Solar Energy; 200 Firms Express Interest

CHENNAI: The State government is trying to procure 3000 MW of solar power by the end of 2015 and more than 200 firms have shown interest in signing Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) for 2000 MW so far, says the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD), Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited, M Saikumar.
Speaking on Tuesday at the commissioning of a rooftop solar power plant at Ramakrishna Mission, Mylapore, Saikumar said the present cost of solar power, which was more than Rs. 7 a unit, would come down to Rs. 5.45 by next year.
Another senior TANGEDCO official said the PPAs for around 200 MW of solar power had already been signed in the last 10 days. These power plants were likely at Ramanathapuram, Virudhunagar and Tuticorin districts, the official added.
The power company also conducted load flow studies - a numerical analysis to determine the voltages, currents and power flows in a system under a given load condition - for around 2000 MW and had given letters of intent to these developers, the official said.
The PPAs, he added, could be signed after the deposit was paid.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Andhra Pradesh to add about 16,000MW capacity in five years

HYDERABAD: Andhra Pradesh government is planning to add 15,869 mega watt power generation capacity in the next five years.
The state energy department said that this capacity in addition would include thermal power (3,240 mw), central generating stations (1,949 mw), solar (3,150 mw), wind (7,030 mw) and other sources.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, reviewing the power situation in the state, said that the government was confident of sustaining round the clock power supply and seven-hour supply for agriculture, the department said in a release.
Naidu emphasised the need to work out ways to expedite the construction of power projects to meet the increasing demand which is expected to be around 15 per cent, it added.

Welspun Renewables to invest Rs 8,300 crore in Gujarat

GANDHINAGAR: Welspun Renewables today announced an investment of Rs 8,300 crore to set up about 1,000 MW solar and wind capacities in Gujarat.

At the Vibrant Gujarat Summit here, Welspun Renewables committed to set up 500 MW wind and 600 MW solar capacities with Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam (GUVNL).
"An investment of Rs 8,300 crore will be poured to develop over 1 GW capacities in Gujarat. The IPP (Independent Power Producer) made these commitments during the first day of the Vibrant Gujarat summit," the company said in a statement.
The IPP signed 500 MW wind and 600 MW solar MoUs on the first day of the Summit.
Vice Chairman of Welspun Renewables, Vineet Mittal said the company started its journey with Gujarat by commissioning its first clean energy project in Anjar.
"Gujarat has always been our natural choice in building projects not just for conducive climatic conditions but because of its investor-friendly environment," Mittal added.
Welspun Renewables has commissioned 308 MW solar capacities so far.
The organisation envisions developing power projects across the country with existing projects located in other high radiation zones like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Punjab, the statement added.

Source: India Times

Advantages of Solar Energy

Here Comes the Sun
Sunlight can be used to directly generate electricity by the use of photovoltaic technology. The use of solar cells or photovoltaic arrays is getting more and more acceptable as an alternative and cost efficient means of generating power.
Sunlight concentration is also another way of using solar energy. Heat is also more readily usable than the energy in sunshine. You can use it for heating a building or for cooking or even for generating electricity.
Advantages of Solar Energy / Learn 6 Real-World Ways
There are plenty of excellent reasons that equate to advantages in using solar energy. Here are some advantages in using solar energy.
1. The abundance of Solar Energy
Even in the middle of winter each square meter of land still receives a fair amount of solar radiation. Sunlight is everywhere and the resource is practically inexhaustible. Even during cloudy days we still receive some sunlight and it is this that can be used as a renewable resource.

2. You don’t pay for sunlight.
Sunlight is totally free. There is of course the initial investment for the equipment. After the initial capital outlay you won’t be receiving a bill every month for the rest of your life from the electric utility.

3. Solar energy is getting more cost effective.
The technology for solar energy is evolving at an increasing rate. At present photovoltaic technology is still relatively expensive but the technology is improving and production is increasing. The result of this is to drive costs down. Payback times for the equipment are getting shorter and in some areas where the cost of electricity is high payback may be as short as five years.

4. Solar energy is non-polluting.
Solar energy is an excellent alternative for fossil fuels like coal and petroleum because solar energy is practically emission free while generating electricity. With solar energy the danger of further damage to the environment is minimized. The generation of electricity through solar power produces no noise. So noise pollution is also reduced.

Solar Energy

What is solar energy?

Solar energy is, simply, energy provided by the sun. This energy is in the form of solar radiation, which makes the production of solar electricity possible.

Electricity can be produced directly from photovoltaic, PV, cells. (Photovoltaic literally means “light” and “electric.”) These cells are made from materials which exhibit the “photovoltaic effect” i.e. when sunshine hits the PV cell, the photons of light excite the electrons in the cell and cause them to flow, generating electricity.
Solar energy produces electricity when it is in demand – during the day particularly hot days when air-conditioners drive up electricity demand.
In use, solar energy produces no emissions. One megawatt hour of solar electricity offsets about 0.75 to 1 tonne of CO2.
PV panels are being used increasingly, both in the city and in remote locations, to produce electricity for households, schools and communities, and to supply power for equipment such as telecommunication and water pumps. 
India is one of the sunniest countries in the world and there is huge potential for solar PV to make a significant contribution to electricity generation.

Saudi Arabia Delays $109 Billion Solar Program Eight Years

 Saudi Arabia is delaying by eight years its target to complete clean-energy program including $109 billion in solar power, saying it needs more time to assess what technologies it will use.

India Clean Energy Investments Rose 13 Percent to $7.9 Billion in 2014

 Clean energy investments in India increased to $7.9 billion last year and are expected to surpass $10 billion in 2015.

US To Support India's $160 Billion Solar Energy Push

 India’s audacious plan to create a solar industry on the scale of China’s almost from scratch gained credibility with President Barack Obama’s pledge to lend U.S. financial support for the program.

India’s Azure Power To Set Up 1 GW Solar Power In Rajasthan

One of India’s leading solar power project developers has signed yet another landmark agreement to expand solar photovoltaic power infrastructure in the state of Rajasthan.
Azure Power to install 1 GW solar power capacity in Rajasthan, India
40 MW solar PV project by Azure Power located in Rajasthan, India
Azure Power recently announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Rajasthan to set up 1 GW of solar power capacity. While the details of this agreement remain sketchy, it is the second such agreement signed by the state government. Earlier this year, SunEdison agreed to set up 5 GW solar power capacity over a period of five years.
Large-scale expansion into Rajasthan seems natural for Azure Power, which already has a number of projects operational and under construction in the state secured through auctions in the National Solar Mission. The company recently initiated construction on 100 MW of solar PV projects it had secured under the latest auction of the National Solar Mission, which accounted for a total of 750 MW capacity.
With the total number of allocations under the first two phases of auctions, the company now has a cumulative capacity of 142 MW from the National Solar Mission — the highest by a single project developer.
Rajasthan was among the first Indian states to take up utility-scale solar power projects through a state policy. It, however, ceded ground to neighboring Gujarat as the central government absorbed the projects commissioned under the Rajasthan state solar power policy in 2009–10.
Efforts to regain the status of a leader in solar power are on now in Rajasthan, as it launched a new solar power policy and conducted its own auctions, which received highly positive response from project developers. The central government also initiated plans to set up a 4 GW ultra mega solar power project in the state. Those plans, however, seem to have been quashed by the state government — reportedly due to political reasons.
The state government has, instead, chosen to engage reputed project developers directly through the (MoU) mode. To attract developers, the state government recently made amendments to renewable energy policies and land laws.

SJVN inks MoU for dev of Ultra Mega Solar, Wind Park in Gujarat

Under the Expansion, Growth and Diversification business strategy of the company, SJVN has signed a MoU with Hindustan Salt Limited to Conceptualise, Structure, Implement, Operate and Maintain the Ultra Mega Hybrid Renewable Energy (Solar & Wind) Park at Salt Pan Land in Kharaghoda, Gujarat.

This proposed park will be developed on the surplus salt pan land of Hindustan Salt Limited which has the generation capacity of 4000 MW to 5000 MW (Solar Power between 3500 - 4200 MW and Wind Power between 600-800 MW) when fully commissioned.

At the initial stage, SJVN will develop all the infrastructure facilities like roads, drainage system, power supply, water supply system, evacuation arrangement from the plot to evacuation sub-station.

The MoU was signed by SJVN CMD R P Singh and HSL CMD A K Jain at SJVN's Coordination Office, Delhi today.

On this occasion, Executive Director (BD&MS) R K Agarwal and other senior officials were also present.

Mr R P Singh informed that SJVN is already in the process of setting up a 5 MW Solar PV project in the prestigious Charnka Solar Park at Gujarat.

The project shall be established in an area of 1,00,033 sq. mtr. allotted by M/s. Gujarat Power Development Corporation Limited for this project.

On commissioning the project will generate 8.10 million units of clean and green solar energy.

In line with National Solar Mission, SJVN Limited has signed a MoU to develop and operate 4000 MW Ultra Mega Solar Project in Sambhar area of Rajasthan.

SJVN is one of the six joint venture partners having 16 per cent equity participation in the proposed mega project.

Research pinpoints new technique for producing cheaper solar energy

Pioneering new research could pave the way for solar energy to be converted into household electricity more cheaply than ever before. A team of experts from the University of Exeter has examined new techniques for generating photovoltaic (PV) energy - or ways in which to convert light into power - more cost efficiently.

The global PV market has experienced rapid growth in recent years due to renewable energy targets and CO2 emission controls.

Perovskite could hold the key to cheaper PV energy generation.

However, current, widely-used commercial methods employed to generate PV energy, such as using silicon or thin film based technologies, are still expensive as they are processed through vacuum-based techniques. The development of technologies and the invention of new materials could lead to the reduction of PV energy generation costs.

Now, the team of scientists from Exeter has found that one such material, a mineral called perovskite, could hold the key to cheaper PV energy generation.

Crucially, the team conducted studies with perovskite in Alta Floresta (Brazil), Frenchman Flat, (USA) , Granada (Spain), Beijing (China), Edinburgh (UK) and Solar Village (Saudi Arabia), and confirmed its efficiency in converting light to power in a range of atmospheric conditions, rather than just under direct sunlight.

The research by the team from the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI), based at the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus in Cornwall, is published in the journal Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells.

Professor Tapas Mallick, who was involved in the research said: "This research offers the potential for significant progress to be made in finding cheaper ways to generate PV energy. The results, which show how perovskite devices work under real operating conditions, will lead to our understanding them better, which will benefit industrial-scale production processes.

Imec Demonstrates n-PERT Solar Cell with a Record 22 Percent Efficiency

Nano-electronics research center imec has announced that it has improved its large area n-type PERT (passivated emitter, rear totally diffused) crystalline silicon (Si) solar cell on 6" commercially available n-type Cz-Si wafers, now reaching a top conversion efficiency of 22.02 percent (calibrated at ISE CalLab). This is the highest efficiency achieved for this type of 2-side-contacted solar cell on an industrial large area wafer size.

Compared to p-type silicon solar cells, n-type cells do not suffer from light induced degradation and feature a higher tolerance to common metal impurities. As a result, n-type silicon solar cells are considered as promising alternatives to p-type solar cells for next generation highly efficient solar cells.

Looking into increasing the conversion efficiency of its large-area n-PERT silicon cells using advanced industrial processes, imec has further improved the conversion efficiency of its n-PERT solar cell, reaching a record 22 percent, featuring an open-circuit voltage (Voc) of 684mV, a short-circuit current (Jsc) of 39.9 mA/cm2, and 80.7 percent fill factor (FF).

Efficiency improvements were obtained by the introduction of a selective front surface field through laser doping, giving a boost in open circuit voltage and short circuit current.

"Our new developments, resulting in additional improvement of the conversion efficiency, further confirm the potential of n-type PERT cells for next-generation highly efficient silicon solar cells" said Filip Duerinckx, manager of imec's n-PERT technology platform.

"This new efficiency record has been achieved while simultaneously simplifying the process, relying only on simplified cleans and without any expensive Forming Gas Anneal (FGA). We are committed to further increasing the efficiency of this cell concept and adding to the industrial value of the technology. This will enable bringing this technology to the market in short term."

Imec's n-PERT silicon solar cells feature Ni/Cu/Ag front contacts, applied using an industrial plating tool from Meco, and rear local contacts obtained by laser ablation of the rear passivation stack and subsequent metallization.

ADB backs India's solar power ambitions

The Asian Development Bank said Wednesday it was extending loans of up to $100 million to help India develop a solar power sector.

The bank said it would extend the loan to solar power developer ACME group, which is working with French renewable energy leaders to develop more than 350 megawatts of low-carbon energy options.

"Solar and other renewable power sources are essential for India's energy diversification and security, and for underpinning the country's long term growth," Isabelle Chauche, an investment specialist at the ADB, said in a statement. "ADB's support for ACME will help break down barriers for more private sector investment, including foreign direct investment, in clean energy infrastructure."

India rolled out a series of renewable energy plans during a weekend investment conference attended for foreign dignitaries, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Indian conglomerate Adani Enterprises on the sidelines of the meeting signed a $4 billion solar agreement with a U.S. solar energy services company SunEdison to produce enough solar panels to develop a sustainable green power sector in India.

Adnan Chief Executive Officer Vneet S. Jaain said India aims to become the world leader in power generation from renewable energy technologies.

The ADB said it was backing developing of solar projects in the country with a capacity to avoid more than 250,000 tons of carbon dioxide that would otherwise have been emitted from fossil fuels.

As of September, the bank said India had a total installed solar power capacity of 2,766 megawatts. The country has a target of increasing that to 22,000 MW by 2022.

Source: Solar Daily

New technique helps probe performance of organic solar cell materials

A research team led by North Carolina State University has developed a new technique for determining the role that a material's structure has on the efficiency of organic solar cells, which are candidates for low-cost, next generation solar power.

The researchers have used the technique to determine that materials with a highly organized structure at the nano scale are not more efficient at creating free electrons than poorly organized structures - a finding which will help guide future research and development efforts.

"There have been a lot of studies looking at the efficiency of organic solar cells, but the energy conversion process involves multiple steps - and it's difficult to isolate the efficiency of each step," says Dr. Brendan O'Connor, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at NC State and senior author of a paper on the work. "The technique we discuss in our new paper allows us to untangle those variables and focus on one specific step - exciton dissociation efficiency."

Broadly speaking, organic solar cells convert light into electric current in four steps.

First, the cell absorbs sunlight, which excites electrons in the active layer of the cell. Each excited electron leaves behind a hole in the active layer. The electron and hole is collectively called an exciton.

In the second step, called diffusion, the exciton hops around until it encounters an interface with another organic material in the active layer. When the exciton meets this interface, you get step three: dissociation. During dissociation, the exciton breaks apart, freeing the electron and respective hole. In step four, called charge collection, the free electron makes its way through the active layer to a point where it can be harvested.

In previous organic solar cell research, there was ambiguity about whether differences in efficiency were due to dissociation or charge collection - because there was no clear method for distinguishing between the two. Was a material inefficient at dissociating excitons into free electrons? Or was the material just making it hard for free electrons to find their way out?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Why the US backs India's great solar bet

It presently supplies less than 1% of national electricity demand, but power from the sun is at the centre of an ambitious, multi-billion-dollar bet for a cleaner, brighter India.

With the US committing $4 billion (Rs 24,400 crore) to India’s renewable energy sector at a time when energy-starved India is under pressure to cut carbon emissions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s motto of “energy to all” could not have had a better boost.

The $4 billion deal will mainly comprise loans from US banks and financial institutions. In addition, a memorandum of understanding was signed earlier this month between US-based Sun-Edison Inc and Adani Enterprises to invest roughly the same amount, $4 billion, in building the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing unit in India.

With a population of more than 1.2 billion and nearly 300 million unconnected to the electricity grid, India is an energy-starved nation. The average per capita consumption of energy in India is about 900 units, compared with 15,000 units a year for developed countries across the world.

India’s energy demand is expected to nearly double to 1,500 million TOE (tonnes of oil equivalent, ie. the amount of energy released by burning one tonne of crude oil) in 2030 from 770 million TOE at the end of 2012.

The Indo-US renewable energy deal was preceded by a statement from US ambassador Richard Verma that both countries would focus on deals that tried to minimise India’s carbon-dioxide emissions.

India’s total carbon emissions are now second to China and the US, according to the Centre for Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis, an organisation that provides information to United Nations.

Source: CDIAC; Figures for 2011 and 2012 are estimates.

The world’s carbon emissions increased 5.4% between 2010 and 2012. India’s carbon emissions increased 11.5% and China’s 16%, while US emissions declined 5.7%.

India’s dilemma: growing emissions but low energy use

In per capita terms, India’s emissions are low, indicating it is a low-income country with low energy needs.

India ranks 136th with 0.45 metric tonnes of emissions per person, way below China (ranked 63rd with 1.68 metric tonnes) and the US (ranked 12th with 4.71 metric tonnes). Qatar with per capita emissions of 10.94 metric tonnes ranks first, followed by Trinidad and Tobago (10.30 metric tonnes) and Kuwait (9.34 metric tonnes).

India does not have any legally binding commitment towards the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG) under the Kyoto Protocol, but the Indian government has agreed to a 20% cut in emissions intensity—a measure of emissions per dollar of Gross Domestic Product (GDP)—by 2020 from 2005 levels.

The National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) has been under implementation since June 30, 2008. The National Solar Mission and National Emission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency under NAPCC also deal with the mitigation of emissions, generating solar power and energy conservation.

Currently, India’s power generation is heavily dependent on non-renewable sources of energy.  Let us look at India’s energy mix in terms of installed power capacity:


Indian solar power market sees global fund flow

As Indian policy makers announce big-ticket projects and set huge targets for solar power capacity addition, global investors smell a huge opportunity.

US-based Morgan Stanley is likely to make a big investment in the solar space soon, likely in a +100-Mw project. So are other institutional investors such as IFC and Standard Chartered. Besides, Goldman Sachs, which invested about $375 million in Sumant Sinha-promoted ReNew Power, is looking to make more such investments in noted or upcoming companies in the clean energy space.

US Exim Bank, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to the US, extended a funding of $1 billion for solar power programmes in India. “Similarly, ADB and German state-owned KfW are also on board for providing funding to the solar programmes to be announced by the government,” said a senior government official in the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE).

Solar power in India is about to see a massive scale-up of 100,000 Mw. MNRE has got the mandate from the prime minister to achieve this goal by 2019.

If the plan of adding 100,000 Mw of solar power hits the ground, India would need investment to the tune of around $110 billion, including transmission capacity, according to government calculations.

“All of this could not come from domestic investors alone. More than half of this amount, or even more, will come from outside India. The big-ticket announcements by the Indian government has made serious investors sit up and take notice,” said Vinay Rustogi, managing director, Bridge to India, a leading consultancy firm monitoring foreign investment in India’s renewable energy space. Of the $15-20 billion that the country will need annually, around $6 billion is likely to come from foreign investors.

On the manufacturing and power production side, at least 10 big Chinese solar companies are looking to set up joint ventures in India. Senior officials in the Madhya Pradesh government said talks with a Chinese solar cell manufacturer to set up a facility in the state were in the last stage.