Solar Energy

Articles related to Solar Energy

June 28, 2011

Off Grid Solar System Non-Profit Supplier Orb Energy of India gets Funding to Expand

Orb Energy a non-profit supplier of off grid solar systems in Southern India has got a million dollars in additional funding from Acumen Fund.Orb Energy supplies solar systems to both residential and commercial customers in 4 states in India Kerala,Maharashtra,Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.It is headquartered in Bangalore and received initial funding from Zouk Ventures.Acumen Fund invests in socially relevant enterprises and has also invested in D.Light which is one of the major producers of LED Solar Lanterns in India.Note Orb Energy in its websites says that it sells around 1000 systems a month and plans to double the size of its operations by increasing the number of branches,employees.Solar System is a massive opportunity as Solar Power in India is set to grow exponentially in the coming years.Note Orb Energy is a system installer and does not manufacture solar panels in India.
June 23, 2011

GoldPoly,SunOasis,CTDC to invest $10 billion in European Solar Projects using Cheap Financing from China Development Bank and Merchants Bank

GoldPoly,SunOasis,China Technology Development Group Corplto invest $10 billion in European Solar Projects using Financing from China Development Bank and Merchants Bank.Note these 3 companies have integrated facilities from processing of polysilicon into wafers to making solar panels.Its the first time that 3 Chinese companies have combined to promote such a massive project.The 3 companies are not listed in the US stock or HK stock exchange unlike other major Chinese solar companies like Trina,GCL,Suntech,LDK and others.Note China Development Bank (CDB) which is owned by the Chinese government has already extended billions of dollars in credit to Chinese solar panel companies like JA Solar,LDK and others.
June 23, 2011

Solar Industry Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) List – Rising as Industry Consolidates

Solar Industry Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) have picked up pace in recent times with a number of companies in distress with supply exceeding demand as Italy suddenly changed its solar subsidy policy in April 2011.With high inventory levels and prices crashing only the biggest and best solar panel manufacturers are managing to thrive.Note the Solar PV Industry has not seen too much M&A unlike the Solar Thermal Industry which has always been a hot area for M&A activity as giant industrial groups like Siemens,Areva,Alstom and GE have bought startups to improve their technology offerings.With the Solar PV industry having crossed more than $50 billion mark in 2010,more and more MNC conglomerates have now starting buying solar companies at cheap valuations.Here is a list of the recent buyouts,stake buys and mergers in the Solar PV Industry that have taken place recently.
June 23, 2011

Solar Capacity in India for 2011 projected to grow by 10x times

Solar Energy in India has immense potential due to the massive growing demand of energy in an already deficient country.The Indian government too has realized this and set an ambitious plan of 20 GW by 2020 under JNNSM.Despite teething problems in the first phase of JNNSM,India should manage to grow its solar power capacity by more than 10x in 2011 to 700 MW.According to IREDA which is the main government renewable energy finance $2.2 billion would be invested in 2011 to grow the capacity to 700 MW.Note despite this impressive rise,note solar power in India comprises less than 0.5% of the total installed electricity capacity in the country and the growth comes off almost a non-existent base.
June 21, 2011

Solar Subsidy in India Bias of Large Solar Farms unwisely goes against the Global Trend of Rooftop Solar System Support

India's JNNSM on the other hand has seen the first phase marked by a number of teething problems like debt financing,absurdly low bidding by noname companies,poor electricity infrastructure.The Second Phase is supposed to ally these problems but the first plans do not seem to be too great.The support for large solar farms will be increased from the current 5 MW cap to 20-25 MW cap.This will lead to only large investors,utilities and companies being left in the fray and lead to lesser competition.Also there is no support for rooftop solar which will help to broadbase the reach of solar energy.A Policy which helps distributed solar like Germany will do much more to boost solar in the country than supporting massive solar plants that will only help large companies making the most of the taxpayer subsidies.Note Delhi is the only state in India which is giing primacy to rooftop solar systems and is in the process of announcing a capital subsidy soon.The reason may be that Delhi mostly consists of urban homes and they have little option.
June 21, 2011

Japan Solar Feed in Tariffs attracts Mitsubishi – Plans Multiple Solar Farms like Softbank

Japan's Solar Energy Manufacturing Industry is quite large and second only to China which may surprise a lot of readers. Sharp was the largest solar company by revenues and the other six zaibatsus have been present in the solar power manufacturing for a long time.Mitsubishi the Japanese conglomerate with diversified global interests has a big presence in solar and wind energy as well.It has a low profile solar module and system business.The company is known for its high quality panels and has a decent presence in USA and Japan.However like Kyocera it has not been aggressive enough leading to loss in marketshare.
June 21, 2011

Solar Energy in Bangladesh Flourishing – ADB,World Bank and Government (IDCOL) Funding Solar as Power Deficiency Increases

Bangladesh like India is a massive power deficient country with peak power shortage of aroudn 25% and more than 60% of the people in the country lacking access to the power grid.As prices of coal,oil and gas increase it has become harder to provide electricity to some of the poorest people in the world.Solar Energy is an ideal solution as it can provide gridless power,is totally clean in terms of pollution,health hazards and is economical as well since it saves money for building the electricity transmission.The Bangladesh government has itself realized this as the Prime Minister has put up a 21.6 Kw solar power system to power her office.The World Bank had put up $130 million in funding in 2003 which has resulted in more than 1 million homes being powered by solar energy.Note the requirements of power are very small almost 1/10th that of a Western home.Government owned Infrastructure Development Company (IDCOL) has been providing the financing for these small solar panel projects in the country.
May 31, 2011

Solar Lanterns in India – D.Light launches affordable low cost Rs 399 S1 Solar Lamp for Poor

Solar Lamps in India are one of the most successful solar products in India as they provide economical value without requiring huge subsidies.Note India’s Solar Mission […]
May 31, 2011

Toshiba acquiring,investing in Green Companies (Landis & Gyr,Unison) as Nuclear Energy faces Fukushima Winter

Japanese Nuclear Giant Toshiba which is the second largest seller of complex nuclear equipment globally is looking to shift its focus towards Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.The company is already facing delays in shipping nuclear reactors to customers as the Fukushima Disaster makes governments around the world rethink their nuclear power ambitions.The Nuclear Energy Disadvantages are winning over the Advantages currently in public sentiment.Toshiba which acquired US Westinghouse has a target of selling 39 nuclear reactors which is getting delayed.With advanced nuclear power countries like Germany,Switzerland and Japan killing nuclear energy,the going looks tough for Toshiba.The company was already facing tough competition from the GE-Hitachi and Areva as well as new players from South Korea and China in the nuclear equipment market.
May 31, 2011

First Solar might invest $500 million to build a Thin Film Solar Factory near Chennai,India – Preempt Domestic Content Requirements

According to the Financial Express, a top US Thin Film Based module manufacturer is exploring the possibility of setting up a facility in Tamil Nadu with an investment of $500 million (approximately R2,255 crore) in the coming months.Note the sources have not revealed the name of the company but it is evident from the investment amount,solar technology that the company is First Solar.A a top level team from the company is expected to visit sometime early next week to initiate discussions with the state government officials.Note First Solar has been emphasizing the importance of India for its growth aiming to supply 100 MW of solar panels in 2011 itself which would make it a leader in the Indian solar industry.Other top solar panel companies like Suntech and Trina too have been investing heavily in selling their solar panels in India through partnerships with local companies.
May 31, 2011

Indian Solar Energy Market sees entry of DuPont Amorphous Silicon Thin Film Modules with Wipro

DuPont Apollo is a wholly-owned subsidiary of DuPont started a 50 MW thin-film photovoltaic module manufacturing facility at Shenzen in 2010. DuPont Apollo is focused on the China domestic market but seems like that they are not getting too much traction in the hyper competitive Chinese market and now trying its hand in the Indian market where solar manufacturing industry is not too competitive. Indian Solar Energy Market has seen the entry of many foreign companies eager to tap this huge opportunity.This list of foreign solar companies in India keeps growing on a daily basis with both startups like Abound and large companies like First Solar,Suntech making India as an integral part of their global growth strategy.DuPont the global chemicals giant too has entered the solar energy industry in partnership with Wipro EcoEnergy.DuPont Apollo will supply Wipro with its Thin Film Amorphous Silicon Solar Panels which will be used in the grid projects.Note a number of Joint Ventures in Indian solar industry have been recently formed.
May 30, 2011

German Nuclear Power to be eradicated by 2022,Solar Subsidy Cuts Possible as well

German utilities have protested against the move as recently they were buoyed by the decision of the Merkel led government to extend the life of the nuclear reactors by more than 10 years.However the weight of public opinion has made the German government go into the damage control phase ( though too late in my opinion.German power companies too know that going against popular opposition will be quite fruitless.Note Germany faces problems as the replacement of the 7 shutdown nuclear reactors will be difficult to replace.Solar Power has been playing an important role but in winter this problem may become acute.According to some analysts,Germany will have to import power (nuclear as well) from other European countries.This will lead to increase in electricity prices.However its a great win for all forms of Green Energy as Germany has no alternative but to go with Green Energy as Germany does not have abundant reserves of Cheap Gas (like USA).Also Coal has its disadvantages which make it very difficult in an environmentally conscious country like Germany.
May 29, 2011

India's Solar Radiation Data Absence becomes another hurdle for Inexperienced Developers

Having good solar radiation data is essential for building solar power plants anywhere.USA and European Union have a well-developed insolation map so that developers and investors in solar energy have no difficulty in getting good data while planning an investment.However Indian developers are at a distinct disadvantage as there is no good primary data to go on.Solar Radiation data makes a huge difference to the economics of a project and no bank will give a loan based on incomplete data.For the inexperienced developers this has become another problem among a host of other problems.With little understanding of the technology and other factors,many of them jumped in and are now in a deep soup.However the prospects of the Indian solar energy are great even with these initial hiccups.The flushing out of the weak hands should help in strengthening the solar energy industry in India in the best traditions of capitalism.
May 28, 2011

Samsung SDI becomes the Solar Sword Arm of Samsung Group to invest $2 billion by 2015 aiming for 8% of the Global Solar Market

Samsung SDI one of the many companies of the largest Korean Chaebol Samsung has become the Green Sword Arm.Note Samsung SDI already is responsible for the […]
May 28, 2011

Solar in India Happenings – No Environmental Clearances,Government to Cancel JNNSM Allotments,Delhi Pushes Residental Solar,Lanco-Juwi 75 MW Maharashtra Solar Plant at Dhule,Mahagenco to build 150 MW

Solar Power in India is going to be one of the biggest opportunities in the 21st century with a number of favorable supply and demand factors converging.The Indian government too has supported Solar Energy in India through the ambitious JNNSM which aims for around 20 GW of Solar Capacity by 2020 (which is too low in my view).A Number of Green Companies both domestic and foreign have already made huge plans to capitalize on this oppurtunity.Here are some of the major happenings in India's solar sector in the last month or so.Juwi which is one of the biggest solar energy developers in Germany ( a market which has become saturated) has joined hands with Lanco Solar ( a subsidiary of one of India's biggest private power companies) to set up a 75 MW Solar Plant in Maharashtra winning a contract from the state power generation company Mahagenco.The contract value is Rs 884 crore which works out to be just under Rs 12 crores/MW or $2.6/watt which is extremely low even with the price of solar panels crashing in the international market.At this price the electricity generated won't be too expensive and Mahagenco has a good deal.On the other hand Juwi and Lanco get bragging rights to being the development team for one of India's biggest solar plants.
May 12, 2011

Offshore Wind Energy to reach Grid Parity only after 2020 like Solar Thermal Power – Advantage Solar Photovoltaic Energy

Offshore Wind Energy is supposed to increase from around 3 GW today to 75 GW by 2020 as countries in Europe,Asia and North America heavily support this industry.Onshore wind energy growth on the other hand is expected to slow down as 38 GW of Wind Capacity were installed in 2010 with Western Markets showing a sharp slowdown.Note every industry sees costs declining with large capacity except the mature industries.For example Wind Energy has seen a 10% decline in costs for every 100% increase in installed capacity.Note offshore wind projects offer even more Wind Energy Advantages than normal Land Based Wind Farms.The only problem facing offshore wind power is high costs as the industry still is on the learning curve.PWC has come up with a survey where most of the participants say that it will take 10-15 years for offshore wind energy to reach grid parity.What this means is that Offshore Wind Energy Companies will continue to depend on government subsidies like higher electricity prices,tax breaks,low interest loans to survive.
May 12, 2011

Power Finance Corporation Green Energy – PFC Subsidiary to become one of the biggest Green Energy Financiers in India

Power Finance Corporation Green Energy has been floated as a subsidiary of one of India's biggest power sector financier Power Finance Corporation.As the name implies the company's mission is to provide loans to India's Green Energy Industry.Note India requires around $10 billion dollars according to the government plans of building 17 GW of Alternative Energy Capacity in India between 2012-2017 which is low in my view.However even this low target will require a massive amount of debt financing to the tune of around $6-7 billion annually.Power Finance Corporation is one India's largest infrastructure financing companies owned by the government.The company which has billions of dollars of loan assets to the Power sector in India has naturally entered the fast growing Green Energy area as well.
May 10, 2011

JSW Green Energy enters Indian Solar Developer/Installer Industry Buying 0.5 MW Thin Film CIGs Panels From Troubled Energy Conversion Devices

JSW Energy has set up JSW Green Energy a 100% subsidiary to enter the renewable energy in India.Not while Wind Power in India is already a huge industry with more than $3 billion in annual investment,Solar Power in India is set to eclipse this soon.JSW Green Energy is looking to set up solar power plants and solar rooftops in the country.For this it has ordered 500 KW of CIGs solar panels from embattled American Thin Film company Energy Conversion Devices.Note ENER is already under huge pressure as it fails to compete with low cost Chinese players.ENER which markets its BIPV Solar Panels under the United Solar brand sells mostly in France and Italy which have higher subsidies for BIPV Panels.Like other American companies ECD has significantly ramped down and moved Green Jobs to Mexico in order to suriveNote CIGs Panels are of lower efficiency than the normal mainstream crystalline solar panels.ENER Solar Panels are mostly used in BIPV and BAPV applications since they are not as cost effective and efficient as normal solar panels.Thin Film in India is rapidly increasing penetration with the Thin Film Leader First Solar targeting 100 MW of Solar Panels in 2010 itself which would make it the biggest solar panel supplier in India.
May 10, 2011

Indian Solar Companies see 40% decrease in Solar Electricity Price to Rs 7-10 unit from Rs 14-16/Kwh with Increasing Scale,Improving Technology and Domestic Substitution of Imports

Solar Power in India is set to be one of the biggest energy industries in the 21st century due to a unique set of favorable converging factors with declining cost the biggest one.The Indian government has recognized this fact and set a 20 GW of solar energy capacity target by 2022 and Indian states are boosting solar energy too through their own set of subsidies and solar supportive policies as well.However a number of problems have cropped up in the initial phases as solar electricity price is still high at Rs 14-16 unit compared to the retail electricity price of around Rs 4-5/unit.Though solar subsidies by the government should provide support till the prices come down.Major Indian solar companies like Moser Baer,Lanco are predicting that the solar electricity costs will fall by 40% or more in the next 3-5 years as technology improves,scale increases and more of the components like glass,solar inverters are manufactured domestically substituting expensive imports from countries like China and Taiwan.
May 10, 2011

Solar Energy Protectionism – Italy joins India,Canada in formulating Domestic Content Requirements

Ontario Canada has a comprehensive solar subsidy policy which mandate that a large percentage of solar components be manufactured in Ontario in order to receive the Feed in Tariffs.This has led to a mini manufacturing boom in the province with a number of companies like Conergy,MEMC,Enphase,Canadian Solar putting up factories to take advantage of the FIT.Japan which is also a large manufacturer of solar panels with major Japanese solar companies like Sharp,Kyocera has taken Canada to the WTO citing improper competitive practises.India which has one of the largest potential in solar energy installation too has promulgated a law that requires domestic content requirements.Solar Modules must be produced in India to gain FIT under the JNNSM.This law is expected to become stricter with solar cells also to be produced in the country in the future.This has drawn howls of protest from American officials who too tried domestic content in their subsidies under the Stimulus Act.
May 8, 2011

Solar Industry in India sees Joint Ventures increasing as Indian Companies look to tap Foreign Expertise

India has a massive potential in Solar Energy with at least 20 GW of  Solar Power to be installed by 2022 according to the JNNSM Plan.This […]
May 8, 2011

Wind Energy in Gujarat to see Easy Electricity Connection as Wind Growth slows down

Gujarat has been leading Indian states in the Solar Energy sector signing PPAs to build more than 900 MW of power capacity in the next couple of years even as the federal subsidy JNNSM flounders.Gujarat is one of the leading industrialized states in the country and has been looking to boost renewable energy sources like Tidal Energy,Offshore Wind Energy,Geothermal Energy as well.Wind Energy has also been in the radar of the state government which is looking to realize the 10 GW potential of Wind Energy in the state.After a strong 2009 when 295 MW of Wind Power was installed that slowed down to 100 MW.The main reason was the unavailability of the power grid to connect wind power plants.Note Gujarat possesses one of the best wind sites in the country in the western part of Saurahstra.
May 7, 2011

Solar in Haryana,India – Why "Hareda" is giving priority to JNNSM sanctioned Solar Plants

HAREDA which is the state renewable energy development agency akin to MNRE at the centre will put these solar farms under a fast track approval process.Note Red Tape in India is quite notorious especially for small project developers who lack the connections and resources to get things done.Note Haryana gives seperate incentives on its own for solar energy,solar water heaters and solar lighting as well.Haryana is desperately deficient in renewable energy despite being one of the most industrialized and fastest growing states in the country.Haryana cities like Gurgaon and Faridabad have benefited hugely from being part of India’s National Capital Region (NCR).However Haryana only generates 0.5% of its 4000 MW of Electricity from Renewable Energy Sources.The state has negligible Wind or Biomass Energy.Despite a Department of Renewable Energy being setup to specifically promote the use of Alternative Energy Sources,the state has not had much success.Haryana is richly endowed with Solar Energy Resources with 320 days sunny days.The State has managed to win some allocation from the centre’s JNNSM scheme.It is also promoting the use of solar energy through disseminating solar kits amongst 2000 schools and providing solar lighting in around 500 villages.
May 7, 2011

Why India's Green Energy 12th Five Year Plan Target of 17000 MW is Too Low

Renewable Energy in India has seen decent growth in the past mainly driven by Wind Energy which accounts for almsot 65% of the estimated 20 GW of Green Energy capacity installed in the country.However to meet India's 2020 Green Energy Target of 15% of power to be generated from renewable sources set by CERC,at least 40 GW more would need to be installed (that is a conservative estimate as load factors for green energy are lower).This is assuming that India meets its target of raising the power capacity to 400 GW by 2020 from around 175 GW at present.Solar Energy in India has not got off to a good start despite immense potential as the federal subsidy program JNNSM has seen irrational bidding by bit players and debt financing is difficult.Wind Power in India has seen the most growth amongst the green sources of power but it too faces hurdles as good quality wind sites have all been taken.
May 6, 2011

China's Solar Energy Target raised by 150% to a massive 50 GW by 2020 -TSL,YGE,STP,SOL,LDK,JASO,JKS,CSUN,DQ,GCL,CSIQ to benefit

China has been rewriting its renewable energy plan in the wake of the Fukushima Nuclear Energy Disaster in Japan.Note there has been a strong global backlash against nuclear energy around the world and 7 nuclear plants in Germany have been closed all but in name.Other countries like South Korea,Italy,Switzerland are rethinking of what do about their nuclear reactors giving the massive tail risks with nuclear generation.China had a target of only 20 GW of solar by 2020 has decided to raise the target by 150% to 50 GW according to the country's leading energy planning authority NRDC.Note China installed more than 15 GW of Wind Energy in 2010 alone becoming the world’s largest Wind Energy Market by far.Solar Energy strongly lags Wind in China despite China having the biggest solar panel manufacturing industry in the world.Its Golden Sun and other Solar Subsidy programs have been small in absolute terms compared to its huge electricity capacity.
May 2, 2011

Water Solar Panels – Can Floating Solar Energy Farms using CPV Succeed – Technology,Companies (Solaris,SPG,Sunengy), Advantages and Costs

Solar Panels have grown exponentially in the last few years driven by declining costs and growing energy prices.The advent of the low cost manufacturers of silicon solar panels from China,falling raw material polysilicon costs,subsidies from governements fighting climate change have all contributed to the more than 150% increase in world solar demand in 2010.Solar Panels are not only being used on roofs and giant rooftop ground plants,but also are being integrated in buildings known as BIPV applications.Solar Panels are also available in flexible forms which can be used in backpacks and other innovative ways.Now there is another niche for solar panels that is growing.Note most of these companies are using the Concentrated Photovoltaic Technology (CPV).The traditional CPV suffers from heating problems as high concentration of sun power leads to high temperature.Building the CPV systems on water will help them solve their problems according to these companies.
May 1, 2011

NTPC Renewable Energy – Negligible Capacity,however 500 MW Wind,Solar Energy PPA signed with States eager to meet Green RPO

NTPC,India's largest power generating utility with around 35 GW of electricity capacity is set to enter renewable energy in a big way as it has singed 500 MW of PPAs with state distribution companies for supplying green energy.Note India's electricity regulator CERC has mandated a 6% Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) in 2011 which will increase by 1% each year to 15% by 2020.A number of states have fallen behind in meeting their RPO and would need to either generate or buy Green Energy to meet the CERC targets for renewable energy.NTPC which is predominantly a thermal power utility has been planning to set up wind and solar power plants but nothing has been done till now.However after signing these PPA with the Madhya Pradesh,Orissa and Karnataka government,the renewable energy projects should get accelerated.
May 1, 2011

Big Oil/Gas (Shell,BP,Total) makes a Solar Energy Comeback – Total acquires Sunpower in biggest recent Solar M&A

Note Big Oil and Gas has been slowly been retrenching form the solar energy industry despite initial leadership.Shell which was one of the biggest solar players has become almost non-existent while BP has shut down a number of solar factories outsourcing production to China.Other Oil and Gas companies like Exxon,Valero,Chevron and others have concentrated their energies on related green sectors like algae based biofuels rather than on solar and wind energy.So the move by Total comes as a surprise as it acquires one of the top 15 solar panel companies in the world.Sunpower is being acquired at a cheap price considering its world beating solar cell technology and its massive systems business which has gigawatts of solar projects under development.Note Sunpower makes the highest efficiency solar panels on a commercial scale and recently tied up with AUO.It is the 2nd biggest solar plant installer in the US and has a massive presence in the commercial and government sector.Total said it looked at over 200 companies before buying Sunpower.Note M&A has been strong in the Solar Thermal Industry and has now started picking up in the Solar PV Industry as well.With solar company valuations at a historic low,it makes sense for the larger chemical and energy companies to pick up good companies on the cheap.
April 25, 2011

What Indian Solar Energy needs – Focus on Small Distributed Rooftop and Off Grid Solar

India is a massively energy deficient country with official figures citing around 15% of peak electricity demand deficit due to lack of power generation and distribution.The […]
April 25, 2011

Solar Energy in India- Maharashtra learns from JNNSM,not to use Reverse Auction Bidding in Subsidy Mechansim

Maharashtra which is the largest power generating state in India but deficient in renewable energy sources of generation will not use the discredited reverse auction bidding mechanism being used in the First Phase of the JNNSM Federal Solar Subsidy Policy.The reverse auction bidding was done due to the massive deluge of applications for setting up solar PV and solar thermal power plants.Based on the Rs 17.91/Kwh Feed in Tariff,developers had bid discounts with the solar project owner offering the biggest discount winning the right to build the solar power plant.This had led to irrationally low bidding for projects and it is all but certain that these solar projects will either be not be built at all or run into heavy losses.