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Energy Power, Renewable, Solar, solar parks
Conditions are damaging renewable energy projects, threatening businesses that survive on thin margins. 

India’s ambitious plan to take the leadership position among nations as one of largest producers of renewable energy may have run into some unfavorable weather 

Freak climatic conditions are damaging renewable energy projects, threatening a business which survives on wafer-thin margins. A storm in Rajasthan, known for its deserts and sunny days, tore through a solar park and blew away modules of various developers. In the adjoining state of Madhya Pradesh, a generator found sections of his project submerged in 10 feet of water due to unseasonal rains. 

“We’d done a study of 50-year pattern of water-flow in the area and this time it exceeded that pattern,” said Manu Srivastava, the chairman of Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Ltd, a joint venture between state-owned Solar Energy Corp. of India and the Madhya Pradesh government. The project has installed capacity of 750 megawatts. 

Extreme weather events seem to have become the latest risk to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s renewable energy goal to quadruple solar power generation to 100 gigawatts by 2022. India may further push it to 440 gigawatts of green power by 2030, the country said in its latest forecast this month. 

Flooding 
The South Asian nation has been witnessing a rise in unexpected weather events. About 400 people were killed in floods in the southern state of Kerala state last year after rains in first fortnight of August were over 150 percent higher than the average. Over 2,400 lives were lost in India due to cyclonic storms, flash floods, landslides and cloudburst in the year ended March, Babul Supriyo, junior environment minister said in Parliament earlier this month. 

The World Bank-funded Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Power park received exceptionally heavy rains and winds on the night of July 5 that flooded a nearby drainage, submerging parts of project under water, according to the state government. Acme Cleantech Solutions Pvt., the producer of some of the cheapest clean power in the world, lost over a 1,000 modules in a storm in May at its project in Rajasthan. 

India has been classified as one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change and extreme weather events in several studies. The Global Climate Risk Index 2019 rank India at second in terms of fatalities in 2017 while a HSBC Bank PLC report in 2018 concludes India is the most vulnerable among 67 countries to climate risks. 

Lower Generation 
It’s not just unpredictable rainfall but also solar radiation in India that can no more be taken for granted. Over the last 6-8 months radiation has been lower by 4% to 6%, hurting power generation, according to Vinay Rustagi, managing director at renewable energy consultancy Bridge to India Energy Pvt. 

“We haven’t seen any systemic analysis of weather risks partly because the sector is still very new,” Rustagi said. 

The race to bid lower tariffs has also prompted some developers to contain engineering and structural costs, making them more vulnerable to extreme weather phenomena. That’s left the financial sector worried, which has been betting big on solar power given the number of sunny days the country experiences. 

“The uncertainty is a growing concern among lenders and financiers,” said Anurag Rastogi, chief actuary and chief underwriting officer at HDFC ERGO General Insurance Co Ltd, adding that his company has seen claims in the first year of the launch of their insurance product for solar projects. 

Source : – Freak weather poses new risk to India’s renewables goals
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Energy Power, Renewable, Solar, solar parks, Wind Power
The wind power generators have also been facing liquidity crunch as the three discoms have failed to pay dues of Rs 843 crore that has accumulated since September 2018

Despite power regulator Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission (RERC) reversing an order passed by the previous government last year and bringing in fresh norms to ensure continuity in renewable power purchase, Rajasthan Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd (RVUNL) is yet to sign power purchase agreement (PPAs) with generators that expired in March this year.

The wind power generators have also been facing liquidity crunch as the three discoms have failed to pay dues of Rs 843 crore that has accumulated since September 2018. While the RUVNL continues to consume the power generated by these companies even after March, the generators are unable to raise invoice as there is no new PPA.

“The reasons are best known to the government why they are not renewing the PPAs despite us agreeing to the new price formula that lowered the rates. The delay has compounded our woes. First, our dues of Rs 843 crore have been pending and secondly, we have not been able raise invoice since April this year,” said Rajendra Vyas, president of Rajasthan Chapter, Indian Wind Power Association.

In July last year, RVUNL had written to the power developers not to continue PPAs as the cost of renewable energy has declined significantly over the past five years (the tenure of the PPAs) and wanted them to lower the prices as per the prices discovered in recent biddings. The PPAs were signed for five years even as the projects have a life of 25 years and they were expected to be renewed after five years as a practice in the industry.

In the order passed in March, RERC adopted a pooling price mechanism for the Renewable Energy Certificate projects worth 623 megawatt to arrive at Rs 3.14 per unit for the new PPAs to be signed from the start of this financial year.

But Indian Oil Corporation, which had put up units under the REC mechanism, went to Rajasthan High Court against the RERC’s recommended price of Rs 3.14, citing it the rate was not viable. But most of the projects developers had written to the RVUNL accepting the Rs 3.14 per unit price and urged the agency to sign PPAs.

While hearing the case, the court had also ordered the state government to sign PPAs, saying the same would be subject to final outcome of the writ petition. Vyas also said if the pending dues are not cleared by discoms within 30 days, it has to be paid with interest but the discoms do not pay the full interest.

“The discoms say they don’t have funds to clear the dues as they are yet to receive the subsidy money for the agriculture connections from the government,” added Vyas.
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Solar, solar parks
In a recent blog, PV Magazine compiled a list of the world’s largest solar power plants. It takes into consideration those power plants which have a capacity of over 500 megawatt (MW).

According to the magazine, the biggest solar parks now have about 2 gigawatt (GW) of generating capacity and are expanding towards 5 GW. 

Here are the top 10 largest solar power plants in the world:

 China: Yanchi Solar Park

Situated in China, it gives an output of about 820 MW. The plant has been operational since 2016. 

China: Datong ‘Front Runner’

In China’s further east, in Shanxi Province, another 800 MW project has been installed in the Datong district. The solar array is distributed on hilltops over a wide area, making them hard to see on satellite images.

China: Longyangxia Solar-Hydro plant

Located in China’s Qinghai Province, the 697-MW Longyangxia Solar-Hydro plant became the largest in the world when the second phase was connected in 2014 by China Power Investment.

India: Kamuthi Solar Power Project

This power station was built by Adani in Tamil Nadu in 2016. This is India’s largest solar power station. It covers nearly 1,200 hectares and has an AC capacity of 648 MW.

Mexico: Villanueva plant

Mexico’s Villanueva plant has an operational capacity of 640 MW. It’s phase III was completed in November last year and is still being expanded by Italy’s ENEL Green Power.

United States: Solar Star

The USA’s largest solar plant has a total capacity of 579 MW and is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway group.

China: Hongshagang

This multi-phase plant in Gansu province was built by China Singyes, with at least 574 MW operational, and an eventual capacity of 820 MW.

United States: Topaz

This project has a capacity of 550 MW and is built on the Carrizo Plain in central California.

China: Yinchuan Xingqing

The Yinchuan Xinqing project has a total capacity of just over 500 MW, and was installed in mid-2018.

India: NP Kunta Greenko

Situated in Andhra Pradesh, the station was in 2017 for Greenko Energy in the Ananthapur Solar Park. It has a capacity of 500 MW.


Another plant worth mentioning here is the Sweihan Independent Power Project in Abu Dhabi, UAE. It is still under construction, but at 938 MW, it is expected to become the world’s largest plant, when commissioned later this year.


Source : – Top 10 largest solar power plants in the world
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