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Energy Power, Renewable, Solar, solar parks
A government panel has recommended cutting the corporate tax rate to 25% from 30% for all companies. 

State run-NTPC aims to set up a 5,000 mw-Ultra Mega Solar Power Park, at Kutch in Gujarat with estimated investments of Rs 20,000 crore, a top executive at the power generation company said on Monday. 

In the current fiscal, NTPC plans to add 5,290 megawatts of capacity to its existing 54,326 mw. While coal-based power generation would continue to be the company’s primary business, it is expanding presence in alternative energy sources such as solar power, and has plans for municipal waste-fuelled power. 

“Battery storage is at an early stage, so we are looking at a different route to manage the solar power plant. We are looking at more flexibility at coal power plants by bringing down our output to 55%,” NTPC’s Chairman and Managing Director Gurdeep Singh said. “We are working on a plan to back down coal based units, so that if there is higher generation from solar units, we can push that in the grid.” 

NTPC has identified a location in Kutch to develop 5,000 mw in phases beginning this fiscal year, and the generator is also exploring Rajasthan for a second such facility. The solar park may be built entirely by NTPC or may involve other power developers. 

“We are exploring how much of the solar park output can we sell without a power purchase agreement. There is a line of thinking that if we sold some power on a merchant basis, it can give us better returns,” Singh said. 

NTPC is also keen to expand into ‘waste-to-power’ sector, given the opportunity offered by the huge municipal waste generated in the country. 

“We are trying our best to contribute to solving the problem of waste in the country. It is a business that can offer 15.5% return on equity,” he said. 

The model NTPC seeks to establish is one where the municipal corporation provides the company the waste, and then the corporation buys back the power generated by the unit. The company has already signed a pact with Surat Municipal Corporation to convert waste into electricity at a plant in Kawas. NTPC is also forming a joint venture, where it will hold 74%, with East Delhi Municipal Corporation for a similar project. 

“We estimate that we can deliver electricity from these units at Rs 7 per unit,” Singh said. 

Source : – NTPC eyes mega solar park in Kutch Gujarat

Energy Power, Renewable, Solar, solar parks
There is light at the end of the tunnel and it is lit by the power of the Sun 

India is finally catching up to rooftop solar (RTS) as a reliable source of power for industries, offices, and homes across the country. At the end of the last financial year (FY19) the total installed capacity of RTS in the country was around 4,375 MW, an impressive 72% jump over the previous year. 

The rising popularity of RTS within the Indian power sector is also an outcome of the increasing share of renewable or green energy in the country. As of the end of the last financial year, the share of renewable energy (that includes solar, wind and biomass) grew to 22% within the overall installed power capacity of 358 GW or 80 GW in total against 70 GW a year ago of which solar power accounted for 30 GW. 

The Government of India has set a target of 175 GW of installed renewable energy by 2022 of which solar alone is expected to be the single largest component at 100 GW. 

Two factors are driving a stronger adoption of solar power in India. First, the cost of solar power has been falling steeply over the last couple of years to around less than Rs 2.40 a unit, thus consistently inching closer to grid parity (as compared to thermal power produced from coal and gas) against Rs 17 a unit nearly a decade ago. A recent study by TERI and US-based think tank Climate Policy Initiative has predicted the cost of generation of solar power could fall to as low as Rs 1.9 a unit over the next decade. 
The second and perhaps a more important reason is the changing consumer behaviour that is increasingly moving towards cleaner sources of energy. New and younger consumers in India today or the ‘reflex generation’ expect utilities and other similar service providers to raise the standards not just in terms of price competitiveness but also their sustainability from an ecology point of view. 

Today, within the larger ecosystem of renewable energy sources, solar rooftops not only offer an economical and clean alternative to conventional energy sources but also delivers reliability i.e., that independence from grid-based energy sources that are prone to load-shedding and other hindrances to a consistent quality of service. Solar rooftops that is looped back into the grid also helps consumers turn into micro-generators of power and thus lower the monthly energy bill consistently. 
Not counting the potential savings by selling excess power to the grid, a typical residential rooftop solar can save up to Rs 50,000 per kw a year or around Rs 12.5 lakh with a 25-year lifetime of the installation. 

Rooftop solar has been around in India for some time now with consumers in all four major segments — commercial, industrial, residential and public sector buildings. In fact, residents in large cities like Bangalore and Delhi (and in several cities that can have severe winters) have for long used rooftop solar to heat water at a relatively lower cost. 
Despite its inherent cost and environmental benefits, adoption of rooftop solar has been low in India. There are two main reasons for this — one the lack of adequate knowledge about the benefits of rooftop solar and two, the initial cost of installation. Thanks to the changing profile of mass media, with social media playing a major role in influencing consumer behaviour, the first challenge is already being addressed effectively, albeit at a pace slower than it ought to be. However, the initial (capital) cost of rooftop solar for the end consumer is still not within the reach of a larger section of the country. The broad demographics of rooftop solar consumers highlights this better. Only 15% of the 4,375 MW of installed rooftop solar in the country are residential consumers, who are typically more conscious of the initial cost than their counterparts in the commercial, industrial and public sector groups. 

The initial cost of rooftop solar varies depends on how much of the energy one would like to generate. Consumers can calculate the cost by the following method: 

A. Calculate the approximate load (in watts) for a day 
B. Divide A. by 8 i.e. average no. of hours of sunlight in a day 
C. Multiply B. by INR 110 

For example, an 1800 watts a day usage will need solar panels that can produce 14,400 watts. The cost will be approximately Rs 15,84,000.
Rooftop solar basically comes in three formats — grid-based, off-grid and hybrid. In the grid-based system, the rooftop consumers are connected to the larger grid that is owned by the local utility. The primary source of power is from the rooftop system and the grid power source is used as a backup, should the rooftop solar fail to generate enough power (usually due to poor sunlight). Off-grid as the name suggests is a standalone system where storage batteries are needed to keep the power flow steady throughout the day. So, energy produced during the day, while is consumed, is also saved in batteries and discharged after the sun has set. One of the important and useful application of these off-grid solar systems is providing access to electricity to underserved people by installing solar based micro-grids with battery storage. Storage batteries come in various types such as Lead-Acid (Advanced Lead-Acid and Lead-Acid Carbon) Batteries, Sodium-Nickel-Chloride Batteries, Lithium-Ion Batteries, Nickel-cadmium, and nickel-metal hydride. Lead-Acid and Lithium-Ion batteries are quite common today, with the latter enjoying the advantages of long cycle life and high recharge rates. These standalone systems help in eliminating the requirement of investing in transmission infrastructure along with minimizing the transmission losses. 

Innovations in Rooftop Solar 
As solar power moves from the fringes to the mainstream, the costs of products like rooftop solar is also bound to come down. Some innovative financing schemes are also available in the market that allows customization depending on the type of user and what they can afford. The universal electrification project initiated by the government of India along with emerging innovations in rooftop solar products such as do-it-yourself solar kits is bringing more consumers closer to energy independence. The rising environmental concern that is deflecting consumers away from conventional energy sources has only made the market more conducive to rooftop solar in India. 

Source : – Rooftop solar power: A bright and clean idea on our terrace

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. 

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

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.

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