Category Archives: Solar technology

All about the technical aspects being currently used in the global as well as Indian market

Reality Hits the fast growing Chinese Solar Manufacturing Industries

 

The importance of Government and Bank support in the field of Solar for the local players has been shown by Chinese Banks for their manufacturers. With the sharp decline in the prices of solar modules worldwide, the world has already seen the downgrading or in some cases even shutdowns of various big manufacturing companies of Europe and US. The result of such a downfall as people call it is because the Chinese manufacturers have come up so fast with the cheap technology of solar modules.

Chinese Solar industry that is termed to be the biggest industry and believed to be among the most profitable is finally seeing the reality which they were not realising until now. But even in scare of such market there has been a lot of support from the Chinese banks to bail them out from such severity of high debts. As said by Wayne in an article “China’s top 10 listed solar companies, though saddled with a combined debt put at $17.5 billion by investment bank Maxim Group, have emerged relatively unscathed from market woes that have driven foreign peers to the wall.”

As compared to Chinese scenario many European companies crunched to the downfall in the market as they were unable to raise the capital against the debt they had. Q-cells which are one of the largest solar cell makers in the world filed for bankruptcy in April as it was unable to clear a debt of $725 million. Even the biggest Chinese companies are also running into losses with the prices of modules going way below than expected. It was the period of 2009 till 2011 in which the solar companies took much of the debt during the downturn of market. Banks also supported such companies with debt as these companies helped to generate employment as also provided a huge boost to China’s economic growth, there banks took the responsibility of providing such companies with debts.

To make sure that these investments don’t go to waste, instead of asking the companies to clear the debt local banks rolled over mature loans each year according to Chinese solar companies and analysts. World’s largest supplier of solar panels Suntech Power Holdings has also huge debt to their name and though they are hopeful to clear it still analysts and shareholders are working out alternative ways with the banks to form an agreement to clear the debt. Even though to repay the debt companies are lowering prices but to remain in the market they will need additional capital which will be very difficult to get with current market scenario.

Apart from these there are many other big solar manufacturers who have huge debts which they are due to pay this year and if the banks decide to recall the capital instead of saving their investments it will be very difficult for companies to compete in the market. So unless there comes a big boom in the solar market all of a sudden companies are going to face real difficulties in the near future.

(Source: Wall Street Journal)

 

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50 MW 5 phased project in pipieline in Bihar

A US-based agency, Schanti Partners, New York will be developing 50MW project worth Rs 580 crore for a solar energy project in Kaimur district of Bihar. Initially, a 10MW unit would be setup. They have received approval letter from Bihar State Investment Promotion Board, no-objection letter from Bihar Renewable Energy Development Agency (BREDA),and the proposal is submitted to Bihar State Electricity Board (BSEB).

Intention is to have a 12.5Rs/unit PPA of 25 years with BSEB.

A fully-owned subsidiary of Schanti Partners LLC ‘Sparkle Solar Bihar I’ will be executing the project. The project will be developed in a phase of 10 MW in 5 phases. The equipment would be sourced from Sol Focus Inc. , a US solar equipment manufacturer. An official marking the importance of project said “With the setting up of this solar energy plant, Bihar will emerge as a leader in solar energy development among eastern states of India”.

The project will use the most recent version of photovoltaic technology called Concentrating Photovoltaic (CPV) system; it is the PV technology with an optical system that focuses sunlight over a large area onto each cell.

The agency would not be taking help from Bihar industrial land bank. As per the proposal, the land would be leased for 30 years term directly from the owners, in lieu of annual lease payments to them.

The financing for the project has already been secured, with a letter of intent(LOI) from the Export-Import Bank of the US. The letter of intent provides for approximately $30 million in financial support with factors depending on extent of US-made solar power equipment.

Kaimur district has robust electricity infrastructure for power evacuation, with grid connectivity and nearby electrical substations. Power lines of 33kV and 132kV and electrical substations are already in place in the district.

Allocation of 175MW of grid-connected solar power projects was granted last year by Bihar Solar Policy.

(Source: India Times)

4337 solar lanterns would be distributed to the shepherds of Himachal Pradesh by the state Government

 

The Chief Minister of the state Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal revealed that the shepherds of the state would get the 4337 solar lanterns. This was announced while he was addressing the state level function organized to observe Akshay Urja Divas (Non-Conventional Energy Day) to commemorate 69th birth anniversary of former Prime Minister of India, late Shri Rajiv Gandhi. He also flagged off ‘Akshya Urja Rally’ of students here today.

 

Use of the renewable energy would provide of the additional power in the state as the State has vast potential of renewable energy such as solar, wind and biomass energy which can be exploited to supplement the hydel power generation in the State explained by the chief minister.

He also said that the some of the projects in the state are still going on and some are to be installed.

As there is a

  • Solar Energy Park at Dr. Y.S. Parmar Horticulture and Forestry University Nauni in Solan, near completion.
  • And one such park was being set up at NIT, Hamirpur
  • A 4 KW Solar Power Plant would be installed in the offices of all Deputy Commissioners in the State.

 

There was a message to the youth of the state from the Chief Minister  to save the energy to mark the ‘Akshya Urja Divas’ and also play  the important role in inspiring every section of the society.

Natural aspects of the states were also dealt while addressing the function, and according to the wordings of the chief minister the maximum use of renewable energy would not only save the natural resources but also offer people with healthy living. People need to learn living in harmony with the nature.

Prof. Dhumal also released ‘Urja Sandesh’ magazine brought out by HIMURJA and explained about nine point environment pledge which was being administered to the students in the schools.

The prominent personalities who were present the function includes Shri Arun Sharma, Deputy Commissioner, Shri Harsh Mitter, Chief Executive Officer, HIMURJA with some other prominent persons.

 

(Source: Indian Power Sector)

 

UP to have its own solar policy for the term 2012-2017

 

Very soon UP will be having its own solar power policy. It is expected to form the guidelines for private parties and other organisations for setting up of solar power plants. Further, the UP chief secretary asked all districts DMs to identify land pockets in their villages for setting up of solar power plants.

The task of establishing solar plants in villages has been entrusted to UPNEDA the state renewable energy agency. UP has proposed to set up solar power plants to achieve 1,000 MWs of production till 2017.

The state government is planning to utilise the barren tracts of land in the villages where they can easily get the 5 acres of land per MW of solar plant developed.

As per UPNEDA officials, private players will be encouraged to set up solar power plants. For 2012-17 the Akhilesh Yadav led government has given thrust to solar power and for the first time a solar power policy will be soon implemented in the state.

Bundelkhand region will be at prime importance for establishing solar power plants.

Apart from rebates and other promotions from central government, several incentives to private players who will set up solar power plants. For the proposed growth of the sector generation using PV technology will be treated as industry and as such all incentives under industrial policy of the state will be available to solar power plants.

(Source: Times of India)

 

Gujarat Solar Canal Top Project to be replicated in Karnataka

 

The Karnataka State government has planned that to lift water from the  solar panels which will be installed  along the irrigation canals to generate power. The project will be implemented in Yadgir, Raichur and Bijapur districts in the first phase.

Mr. Basavaraj Bommai State’s Water Resources Minister said here on Wednesday that it had been planned to install 10,000 solar panels along the 1 lakh kilometer length of irrigation canals.

The minister was in the city to take part in Independence Day celebrations

Bommai said that a private company will execute the project on a pilot basis for a 5 kilometre-length.Such a project had been successfully implemented in Gujarat.

“Rural areas are not getting adequate power supply and hence farmers are unable to draw water from canals. With the installation of solar panels, each village can get up to five mega watt of power to meet energy demand for households and for farming activities,” the minister said.

(Source: Deccan Herald)

 

Telecom Towers to go Solar with the initiative taken by Bharti Infratel for their telecom towers

 

Tower company Bharti Infratel (Calcutta) teamed up with OMC Power, a renewable energy service company (Resco), for powering its off-grid and poor grid telecom tower sites in rural areas using renewable energy solutions.

The move will complement Infratel’s green energy drive to actively promote use of renewable sources to power its towers.

Bharti Infratel is the hived off tower arm of Bharti Airtel and runs in seven of the 22 regions in the country with about 33,000 towers, of which 9000 are in off-grid / poor grid locations.

OMC, in turn, is a power company that funds, builds, operates and maintains micro power plants so that tower companies and telecom company can buy electricity directly from it rather than running their own diesel gen-sets, solar panels or wind turbines.

Under the partnership with Infratel which will be valid over a 10-year span, OMC will set up micro power plants in off-grid and low grid locations. These power plants will generate electricity, primarily using renewable energy sources and energize Infratel’s tower sites. This is slated to reduce dependence on diesel gen-sets for powering these towers.

The Bharti Infratel-OMC pact is likely to benefit rural households in the local community vicinity by supplying them basic electricity. After conducing joint trials, OMC has built the first micro power plant in UP as part of a 10-year agreement.

Infratel’s chief technical officer & O&M head Sairam Prasad said the Resco model would help tower companies whose core competency is enabling telecom reach.

“”While progress has been made in providing telecoms in rural areas, this has been largely achieved without grid-power availability, a key ingredient in providing telecom uptime to this critical infrastructure,”” said Prasad.

Infratel’s decision to invest sizeable sums in green energy solutions comes on the heels of its recent pilot, the Green Towers P7 initiative, which focused sharply on slashing diesel usage and carbon emissions across its tower network.

At present, Indian tower firms collectively have some 400,000 sites and spend a humongous Rs 8,500crore   annually on diesel, says consultancy firm AT Kearney. Off these, about 70,000 are not fed by grid power, but only about 5,000 have switched to solar power since the cost of powering towers through solar energy can be exorbitant at Rs 40 per unit when compared to Rs 6 per unit for grid power.

OMC Power’s co-founder & CEO Anil Raj said its micro power plants have been designed for rural areas. “”We have moved power from CAPEX to OPEX and can supply power at a better price than operators can by doing it themselves,”” he said in a media statement.

OMC has teamed up with top technology companies to build its micro power plants and is using a combination of wind, solar, diesel and battery back-up to ensure a constant supply of power. Using a hybrid of techniques means that at any point in time, power will be drawn from the most suitable source with little or no wastage.

Areef Kassam, manager of GSMA’s Green Power for Mobile program, said: “”The telecom market is in need of more Resco like OMC to help mobile operators and tower companies reduce costs at off-grid rural sites.””

With more than 1.4 billion people living without access to power and 500 million off-grid mobile connections, operators are constantly looking for new ways to provide a commercially viable service””.

Leading industry bodies representing the GSM, CDMA and tower service providers have engaged The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri) to create a blueprint to implement green solutions to reduce their carbon footprint. It will suggest ways for tower companies to cut diesel consumption.

More than 2 billion liters of diesel is used to run gen-sets to ensure uninterrupted power supply that in turn allows continuous mobile connectivity even in rural areas where grid electricity is in short supply.

(Source: Economic Times)

 

Himachal Pradesh to give solar lamps to remote villages

 

Himachal Pradesh has a plan of providing solar lamps at pastoral settlements in non-electrified villages and also of developing two of its towns as Solar powered towns –Shimla & Hamirpur, said by an official.

For providing the lanterns among the sheep and goat breeders in remote and tribal areas, a loan of Rs 1.07 crore has been sanctioned to the state government under the energy conservation scheme by the ministry of new and renewable energy.
The total number of the lanterns distributed by the Himurja is as 4,337 lanterns, Himurja is a state-run agency that is promoting use of non-conventional energy.


First plant set up

Himachal Pradesh has developed a master plan to promote non-conventional energy in its geographical location to minimize the pollution factor there.

In this plan the state’s first solar energy plant of 200 KV capacity has been set up at Baru Sahib in Sirmaur district, and the 216 police posts would soon be getting two KV solar power plants.

In 2008-09 every household got the CFLs free of cost  by the state government distributed which has resulted in a saving of about 270 million units of power worth Rs 100 crore in a year .

(Source: Deccan Herald)

 

Norther Grid Electricity failure not a concern for this village

When 600 million fell into darkness when nation’s northern grid failed in the recent days, there is a light shining in the remote village of Meerwada. When cities are coming to terms with long periods of darkness, solar power has been used in the village to meet most of the local requirements, thus making life a lot easier for village residents here.

SunEdison is the major manufacturer of this renewed ray of rope. They experimented over it by the massive installation of the expensive panels. But the result produced are now heartening as children can now study under electric lamps in the night, people can drink filtered water, women can make food easily in sufficient light and so as for the old people with weak eyesight.

According to an estimate of MNRE by 2022 the solar power would be complementing just about 1% of the total needed power resource. Though an insignificant 80MW is what solar panels are generating now, by 2022, it should climb to a higher quantity of 4,000 MW, but financial restrictions come in the way. Although initial cost is high but still long term implications are definitely much more promising especially in India .This is because we enjoys 300 days of sunlight in most parts, and costs would therefore come down thus paving way for distributed expenses in years to come.

 

(Source: Bhaskar)

Solar industry insight

In 2011-12, India’s solar power capacities increased to nearly 940 MW from 20 MW in 2010-11.This is mainly due to the Gujarat State Solar Policy and the Centre’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) which are due pillars of  solar power development in India. Besides, a sharp decline in capital costs over 2011 also drove this rapid expansion.

Capacity additions

State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) have mandated their respective power distribution companies to procure solar power. This is at a minimum of 0.25% as part of their solar renewable purchase obligations (RPO). Higher cost-reflective tariffs have supported the four times costly solar power over the conventional power. The central and Gujarat policy have facilitated long-term off take agreements for solar power. These are in between project developers and distribution companies (discoms) at cost-reflective preferential tariffs.

Globally, capital costs in PV (photovoltaic) projects) prices crashed due to massive capacity additions by China. Atop it, demand in key European markets — Germany, Spain and Italy — also dried up. This further reduced the module prices. Globally the demand stood at 25-30 GW solar photovoltaic (PV) module capacity compared to 50 GW at the end of 2011.  As a result, capital costs fell by 30% over 2010 level, to Rs.10 crore per MW by end-2011.

Still due to the continued over-capacity in global markets, capital costs are expected to decline to Rs.8.7-9 crore per MW in 2012. This comes to 12% decreased compared to the previous year. The pace of decline in module prices will slow down in 2012 as module suppliers in the U.S. and Europe are staring at eroding profitability, and even bankruptcy in some cases. Further, the weak rupee will limit decline in capital costs, as most of the equipment has to be imported.

The scenario of decline in the capital costs led many solar power producers to bid aggressively in the batch 2 of JNNSM  (350 MW bid out in December 2011). This brought a decline of nearly 25 % (at Rs.8.8 per unit) in the average tariffs bid, compared to JNNSM batch 1 (150 MW bid out in December 2010). However a levelised tariff of Rs.9 per unit is necessary for healthy return. In batch 2 of JNNSM nearly half the bids are below Rs.9 per unit and about a fourth bids are below Rs.8.5 per unit. This had made these investments highly risky.

Reducing borrowing costs is the throttle point for the viability of these projects. However, access to lower cost foreign funds is linked to foreign equipment supplies through developmental financial institutions. It will be thus difficult for the players opting for crystalline PV technology in phase 2 to tap these funds as they are required to procure crystalline PV equipment domestically.

If the low-cost foreign funds have to be accessed, the thin-film technology, on which the restrictive domestic procurement clause is not applicable, needs to be used.

Gujarat’ s solar policy is separate in this regard as there is no domestic content clause under it. The tariff of Rs.10.37 per unit offered under it therefore provides more attractive returns for project developers. There is also a strong upside to these returns as players can obtain cheap foreign debt. It can be therefore said that the extent of decline in capital costs will decide the momentum of future capacity.

(Source: The Hindu)

Time for Rooftops solar Plants in India

Now it is time for the rooftop solar power plant in India, explained by the many speakers at REaction, 3-day conference organized by Energy Alternatives India it was a conference of the renewable energy industry and EAI is a Chennai-based clean-tech consultancy.

The Managing Director of SunEdison, Mr Pashupathy Gopalan, said solar plants on rooftops of commercial buildings can even now produce power at costs almost equal to distribution company rates and the grid parity of the residential rooftops will be reached within two years.

It doesn’t matter even if policy-makers do nothing to push rooftop solar. “Economics will take over,” Mr Gopalan said. he has further said that it is feasible to sell roof top solar electricity at Rs. 7 per unit. SunEdison has already put up a Solar roof-top plant of 100KW on the roof of SCOPE, Standard Charter Bank’s captive BPO in Chennai but it has npt disclosed at what price they are selling the electricity.

The biggest advantage in this rooftop solar installation is that electricity prices are fixed for approximately 30 years, even if grid power is a trifle cheaper today but it is sure that the prices of the grid power are going to rise.

Raising funds typically is the most critical aspect about residential rooftop projects in India, as the households find it difficult to raise funds from banks, we know that all the households are not inclined to incur capital expenditure for electricity that is anyway available from the grid said by Mr Gopalan.

The per unit cost of a rooftop solar plant production with battery base storage is Rs 10 but without battery backup, the cost would be much less, told by Mr Madhavan Nampoothiri, Founder and Director, RESOLVE Energy Consultants.

There are some facts about the solar rooftop which must be known  which are as that a rooftop solar plant with “grid-tie” will not need battery back-up, but the solar plant will stop functioning if the grid goes off. However, if a diesel genset is used as a back-up for periods when grid power fails, solar power could be harnessed the most, said Mr Rajeev Agarwal, Founder & Managing Director of Ardor Green Solar and Wind Pvt Ltd.