June 30, 2011

At Least Half of 620 MW of Solar Power Capacity under JNNSM to Miss Financial Closure Deadline,Will Lose License as Irrational Non Serious Auction Winners to lose Bank Guarantees

Financing of Solar Energy Projects in India under JNNSM is proving to be a huge problem for the winners of Phase 1 auction under the federal subsidy scheme.Solar Energy in India has huge potential and attracted a number of companies to the first phase of the government tender under the 2020 plan to install 20 GW of solar energy.Note 620 MW of projects in the 5 MW and above category were awarded to 37 solar companies.Many of these firms had no background and had bid irrationally low to win these projects.With little experience and no established financial infrastructure it was an accident waiting to happen.MNRE offical has revealed that 18 of the companies have failed to achieve financial closure and would probably lose their license by the July 9 deadline.Note most of these bids were irrationally low and would not have made profits.Indian Banks and power financing institutions have refused to lend quite prudently.Note these companies are not putting collateral using their parent company's assets which means that they too doubt the feasibility of their projects.Only huge penalties will deter future non serious participants as at least half of the solar power capacity won't get installed in JNNSM Phase 1.It remains to be seen how this affects the future of the Indian Solar Mission.
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.
May 31, 2011

CERC to increase Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) frequency compliance to facilitate lumpy REC Trading

Central Energy Regulatory Commission (CERC),India's Electricity Regulator is planning to increase the frequency of compliance of the Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) for states from an annual affair to a bi or quad annual affair.Note Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) Trading in India started in 2011 to facilitate the development of the Renewable Energy Industry in India.According to the RPO,a certain percentage of a state's electricity generation must come from clean energy sources.States and utilities which can't meet their renewable energy requirements can buy REC from Indian Energy Exchanges to meet their needs.Power Exchanges in India have already set the ball rolling in terms of trading in RECs.
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 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

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

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

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 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 7, 2011

India's Power Sector a Bubble as Bankrupt State Utilties with $13 Billion Losses don't Buy Electricity even with Energy Shortage -Monnet forced to sell power at 1c/Kwh

India's Power Sector is seeing massive investments with innumerable business groups setting up thermal power plants in the country spurred by the electricity deficit of more than 15% and the GDP growth of more than 8% expected in the next decade.India's private power companies are competing with each other in setting up massive ultra mega thermal power plants of 4 GW capacity.However India's pathetic state of electricity distribution may lead to huge losses for the investors in the power sector.The reason is that the electricity distribution is controlled by the state utilities which have cumulative losses of $13 billion which is expected to double to $26 billion in another 5 years.These "discoms' don't have money to pay the private producers of power even with an electricity deficit.With India's electricity market a tangle of red tape,losses and government control the situation looks bleak for all the business groups deciding to enter the power sector.
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.
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.
April 16, 2011

Solar Water Heaters in India – Understanding Benefits,Cost,Subsidies for Buying Solar Heaters, SWH Manufacturers List

Solar Water Heaters are one of the most successful solar products which have managed to proliferate without government subsidies needed for other solar products like solar panels etc.Note Solar Power in India is taking off with the government promoting its through the JNNSM subsidy policy.The payback period for solar heaters is quite short and it substitutes the need for electricity needed to run power guzzling water heaters in residential and commercial establishments.The other reasons for the success of solar water heaters is that they are relatively easy to build and install making them quite popular.China has the largest number of solar water heaters installed in the world and other countries are not far behind.India too has seen a rapid growth in the use of solar water heaters with roofs around India marked with solar water heaters.Note the government of India through MNRE also subsidizes the buying of solar water heaters making them even more popular.Solar Water Heaters of different qualities,capacities and prices are available in the Indian market.Solar Installers are responsible for doing the whole turnkey installation of solar water heaters,piping system and maintenance.
April 11, 2011

Integrated c-Si Solar Polysilicon to Module Plant by BHEL,BEL India's Two Largest Capital Goods Government Companies JV to be set up

Solar Power in India is increasing at a rapid pace and will become one of the biggest energy industries in the next decade as falling costs of solar energy and India's rising demand makes it a perfect match.Solar Companies in India are constanly growing by the day as firms rush in to take advantage of the vast investment and profit potential in India's Solar Energy Market.BHEL which is India’s largest Capitals Good Company has big solar ambitions.BHEL has strong capabilities in the field of making electricity generating equipment.Extending these capabilities in the field of solar power generation is a natural extension.It is following the JV route with various other Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) like HPCL,BEL and IOC to build power plants and solar equipment factories in the country.Most of these JVs have been dormant till now but the JV with BEL is now looking to move on.The JV is scouting for sites to build a 250 MW integrated c-Si Solar Factory which will also have India's first polysilicon and wafer manufacturing operations.Note India has a large capacity of solar cells and modules but does not have a commercial solar wafer or poly plant which are essential raw materials for making Solar Panels.Till now Solar Panels in India are made from imported Solar Wafers from companies like LDK,GCL,REC,Solarworld and others.There are a few private companies who are looking to set up upstream manufacturing in solar as well.Note there are other Indian government owned PSUs which too are looking to enter Solar Energy Industry as well
April 7, 2011

Solar Mission of India Explained – Objectives,Targets,R&D,Manufacturing,Three Phases of JNNSM,Off Grid Solar

India launched its Solar Mission by the name of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) with a lofty target of 20 GW by 2022.The Solar Mission has been divided into 3 phases and promotes solar energy installation,solar industry,solar heaters and off grid solar.Note the Solar Mission provides subsidies and incentives to promote the use of Solar Energy from the Central Government.Different States such as Gujarat have enacted laws to support solar energy on their own which is seperate from the Federal Target for Solar Power.I think the 20 GW target for 2022 is very low and will be easily exceeded but that is a separate discussion.The Solar Mission is not a rigid document but is a work in motion as the second and third phases will be implemented taking in the feedback and success of the first phase of the Solar Mission which has already announced the Solar Project Winners.
April 7, 2011

Solar Power in India – All you wanted to know Solar Power Plants,Solar Panel Manufacturers/Installers/Inverter Companies,Subsidies(JNNSM,Tariffs,REC,RPO) and Technology(PV,Solar Thermal)

Solar Industry is a fast growing exciting industry with its inevitable growth pangs as well.The first phase of India's Federal Policy has seen many hurdles and its success is in doubt,on the other hand Gujarat has managed to attract investment and power plants through a forward looking subsidy.States like Uttar Pradesh,Delhi,Maharashtra are also tentatively coming up with their own incentive policies.The Industry will see many ups and downs before it becomes a major billion dollar industry.Note Solar Power Industry has become the fastest growing in USA where it doubled last year and looks set to double this year again.The Nuclear Accident in Japan has given fresh energy to Solar Power with China set to double its target to 10 GW by 2015.
April 6, 2011

State of Solar Energy in India – Maharashtra,UP,Delhi formulate Solar Subsidies though far behind Gujarat

Solar Energy in India represents one of the best Energy opportunities in the 21st Century.However the growth at least in the initial stages will be geographically unequal.This is due to the fact that Solar Power requires strong government support and subsidies currently.The Indian Federal Government has already given it a strong push targeting 1000 MW by 2013 and 20 GW by 2022 under the JNSSM.While the Subsidy Program is facing some initial hurdles due to debt financing and aggressive project bidding,individual States are forging ahead to push Solar Energy on their own.Gujarat has been a trailblazer in this regard with The State has already recieved proposals for setting up around 365 MW of Solar Power.Gujarat through its own RPS and Feed in Tariff incentives is targeting 1000 MW by 2013.Rajasthan too is trying to exploit is massive solar insolation potential but its state policies have little clarity or direction yet.The state has signed around 1524 MW of Solar Project with 49 Developers.The Solar Policy Draft Proposal is mostly vague with a target of 10-12 GW in 10-12 years with around 500 MW in the next 2-3 years.Rajasthan is set to see massive solar installation despite its government's vagueness from the Federal JNNSM subsidy.Other states in India like UP,Delhiand Maharashtra have recently started making some moves but remains to be seen how good they are at implementing.While the UP solar subsidy is clearly quite ridiculous,Delhi seems to be on the way to implementing a smart policy of promoting small roof top solar residential installations.
April 4, 2011

Smart Grid in India – Impossible Dream as Badly Managed,Loss Making State Electricity Distribution Waste 30% of Power

Smart Grid as a Clean Technology Industry is gaining traction in the West and countries like China,South Korea .Smart Grid has become important to increase energy […]
March 31, 2011

Green Companies in India – Biomass,Solar,Wind,Geothermal,Hydroelectricity Energy Producers,Alternative Energy Utilities

India's Green Companies are seeing tremendous growth backed by the nation's massive energy demand increase.The 8% Plus Economic Growth coupled with the already massive electricity deficit which makes brownouts of 8 hours a day normal in many places in the country provides the macro background underpinning the growth.India's Green Industry is still in a nascent state compared to the massive solar and wind industries in countries like China and Germany.However attracted by the massive potential a number of companies small and large have entered the fray.Most of India's large energy groups,utilities have already established a small presence or are in process of doing so.While Wind Energy is the largest Renewable Energy Industry in India after HydroElectricity,Geothermal Energy is non-existent without a single large commercial plant.Biomass Energy is quite well developed and Solar Energy is the fastest growing Green Industry.Here is a comprehensive list of the Green Companies in India operating in the different Alternative Energy Sectors.
March 4, 2011

India Solar Subsidy JNNSM Guide – What you needed to know

The Indian Government’s launch of the ambitious Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission(JNNSM) was done with much fanfare with a target of reaching 20 GW of Solar Capacity by 2022 under 3 phases from the 81 MW currently.While the government had the best intentions and had laid down a well defined 10 year plan with subsidy support for both Solar Thermal and Solar PV Technology,it has already run into problems.Due to high interest the government went in for bidding of projects which led to irrationally low bidding from unknown firms.This has put the entire exercise in question with the the biggest private utility saying JNNSM is a failure.Without extensions of deadlines it looks highly unlikely whether the 37 winners will actually put up the plants.
March 3, 2011

Solar Inverters in India to be domestically produced by Delta Electronics in Chennai

India is set to see a massive growth in solar energy in the next decade with the 81 MW of Solar Capacity expected to reach at least 20000 MW by 2022 if not more.India's JNNSM Policy and push for renewable energy by states like Gujarat,Maharashtra and Rajasthan should see massive investments in solar PV installation.While there are already solar cell and panel production,India lacks a strong base for manufacture of solar inverters which can cost upto 10% of the total cost of a solar project.
March 3, 2011

Renewable Energy EPC Company Juwi sets up Solar Energy Base in India

Juwi,the German Renewable Energy EPC Company is setting up base in India following on the footsteps of other major Europeans companies Scott and Abengoa.Juwi is one of the largest solar EPC companies in the world with 800 million Euros in Revenues in 2010 and with operations in 15 countries.Note India's solar energy opportunity is one of the biggest in the 21st century and the number of solar companies has exploded.Other International Solar EPC Companies and Solar System Integrators like SunEdison have made major commitments to the Indian market.Juwi is looking at both setting up turnkey plants as well as O&M.Indian domestic companies suffer from a lack of experience in the solar development sector and entry of international companies should help disseminate best practices in solar project development and execution.
February 17, 2011

List of Current and Future Solar Photovoltaic Energy and Solar Thermal Plants/Projects in India

Solar Energy in India has a tremendous growth potential and is currently seeing massive interest.The government support in the form of JNNSM with a target of 20 GW by 2022 has given a sold impetus to solar power in the country.A small number of solar energy plants have already been completed by different developers in a small number of states.The migration projects of JNNSM are the first ones that are going to be completed followed by the ones which were won in the auction.Here is a list of current and potential future solar energy plants in India.
February 10, 2011

Solar Energy in India – Moser Baer gets into Solar Panel Junction Box Production

Moser Baer made ambitous plans of making it big in solar energy but has not managed to execute successfully in its plans.Despite pouring millions of dollars into differents parts of solar energy,Moser Baer has failed to make a mark even domestically leave alone globally.However India's JNNSM has given a fresh lease of life to Moser Baer's solar investments.The company has managed to win a number of system projects which will be supplied by its inhouse solar panel production.Now the company is also entering into manufacture of low value add items where competition is expected to be much lower.The company is going to build a 1300 MW Solar Module Junction Box Plant to supply India's fast growing solar capacity.