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Energy Power, Solar, Solar Panel

The government is planning to replace safeguard duty introduced in July 2018 to protect domestic manufacturers with a basic customs duty which will rise to 20% in a phased manner over the next 2-3 years.

As the safeguard duty on imported solar cells and modules from China and Malaysia ceases to exist in July and is likely to be replaced with 20% basic customs duty (BCD), the viability of Indian solar cells and module manufacturers based out of special economic zones (SEZ) will be threatened, if they are not allowed parity with the domestic tariff area (DTA) manufacturers.

As FE reported earlier, the government is planning to replace safeguard duty introduced in July 2018 to protect domestic manufacturers with a basic customs duty which will rise to 20% in a phased manner over the next 2-3 years.

SEZ based manufacturers believe the viability of their operations — 60% of the total solar cells manufacturing in India and around 50% of solar modules manufacturing are based in SEZs — will be affected as their buyers in the domestic tariff area (DTA) will have to pay BCD. The sale by SEZ manufacturers in India is considered as exports.

Unlike BCD, under safeguard duty, the SEZ manufacturers were treated on par with DTA manufacturers.

Avinash Hiranandani, Global CEO of Renewsys, which operates a 750 MW module manufacturing capacity in Hyderabad SEZ, said, they have recommended that same parity as safeguard duty should be implemented when the BCD is introduced.

However, if the tariff is applied then a lot of manufacturers will move out of the SEZ.

Though the migration may not be possible for everyone as it will depend on how deep inside the SEZ they are embedded, and also, how much fund they would need for that. It will also require time. “The plea was to give everyone at least 6-9 months or one-year time to move out if the BCD is implemented without resolving the SEZ issue,” Hiranandani said.

When contacted by FE, a senior MNRE official said that they are aware of the situation. “We are working with all the concerned stakeholders —ministry of finance, commerce, and revenue along with manufacturers — to resolve the issue. We expect some clarity to emerge by next week,” the MNRE official said.

The SEZ manufacturers believe, if they are not treated on par with DTA, the concept of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘vocal for local’ will move one step behind.

“Everyone wants to invest money. Even the industry players who are very nicely placed to invest on expansion and have acquired the land, taken approval from the pollution control board, all they need is capacity expansion, will find it difficult to move without this clarity. People who want to expand the capacity by 3GW- 4GW will suddenly find the capacities cut by half if this BCD parity doesn’t happen,” Hiranandani said.

Saibaba Vutukuri, CEO of Vikram Solar, which operates 1.2 GW solar module manufacturing facility based out of SEZ in Falta, West Bengal, said, “Government must take necessary steps to protect the investments already made by the manufacturing facilities in SEZ by taking up the matter with the concerned ministries to provide exemption and to ensure that DTA and SEZ based units are placed on a similar footing,” Vutukuri said.

Being fair to the solar panel manufacturers in DTA, they want the duty to be levied at the earliest as they are facing the wrath of cheap Chinese panel imports post the lockdown. “The Chinese manufacturers have further reduced the panel prices after the lockdown, reducing the prices to below 18 cents per watt peak from 23 cents before the lockdown. “It would be very difficult for any manufacturer to make a decent return with such wafer-thin margins,” Hiranandani said.

Source : https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/proposed-20-basic-customs-duty-on-solar-cells-to-hit-units-in-sezs/1988716/


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
“The intention of the chief minister was not to review all PPAs across the board. There was prima facie evidence that there was mala fide, corruption and kickbacks in some of the wind projects, which had not gone through the bidding process. 
Andhra Pradesh has shown the first sign of changing its controversial stand that contracts with renewable energy companies should be renegotiated to bring down tariffs, as a top-ranking official told ET that the state was only targeting projects where corruption was evident. “The intention of the chief minister was not to review all PPAs across the board. There was prima facie evidence that there was mala fide, corruption and kickbacks in some of the wind projects, which had not gone through the bidding process. The committee was formed to look only into those cases,” a top-ranking bureaucrat in the state, who did not want to be identified, told ET. He also said the allocation and pricing of land for some projects seemed suspicious and opaque. “We are also reviewing large tracts of land which had been allocated on a non-transparent basis earlier at discretionary prices. This will free up land, besides, transparent allocation of land will reassure investors,” the official said. Suspecting malpractices by the previous regime, chief minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy set up a panel soon after he took office in May to review the signed contracts because he believed Andhra had agreed to higher tariffs than those in some other states. Later, the state utility threatened to terminate the contracts if tariffs were not cut, dismaying domestic and foreign investors as well as sovereign and pension funds from various countries, which have invested heavily in India’s renewable energy sector. Union power and renewable energy minister R K Singh and Japanese ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu have urged Reddy not to violate the sanctity of contracts as this damages the business climate. “We appreciate the sentiment and understand the ambassador’s concerns and of the people whom he represents,” the official said, while noting that the matter is sub judice. Developers have obtained a stay order from the Andhra Pradesh High Court on all proceedings of the committee till August 22. Until February 2017, wind tariffs were determined by the respective state’s power regulator after considering factors such as speed and intensity of wind. “The prima facie sense is that the tariff petition was not filed truthfully or some information was concealed. Perhaps the regulator could have exercised greater diligence,” the official, who is close to the state’s chief minister, said. Sources said the state has also been curtailing renewable energy as a fall out of the stay order. “If there has been arbitrary intervention, action will be taken. I was told some renewable power had to be backed down in the interest of grid stability,” said the official. Sources said the state has also been curtailing renewable energy as a fall out of the stay order. “If there has been arbitrary intervention, action will be taken. I was told some renewable power had to be backed down in the interest of grid stability,” said the official. Since the Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) requirement has already been met by the state, addition of more wind and solar power will ultimately depend upon the tariff, according to the official. Andhra Pradesh has a commissioned capacity of 7,257 MW of renewable energy, with solar energy at 3,279 MW and wind energy at 3,978 MW, according to renewable energy consultancy Bridge To India.

Delhi, Energy Power, News, Renewable, Solar
Efforts are on to make Indian Railways the first Green Railways in the world in the next 10 years with steps like setting up solar energy installations on its unutilised land, electrification of tracks and moving to bio-diesel, Minister Piyush Goyal told Rajya Sabha. Replying to supplementaries during the Question Hour, he said there was no proposal at present to change Railway fares, after the recent hike in diesel costs due to increased excise duty in the general budget. The minister said the Railways had set the target of 100 per cent electrification of its tracks by 2022. He informed the House that Railways was reducing its diesel cost inputs by electrifying its tracks on a large scale and will also produce solar energy on its vacant land. “Probably 10 years from now, can we make Indian Railways the world’s first 100 per cent Green Rail,” he said announcing that this was yet another ambitious plan and efforts may take some time to fructify. “We are trying to see how we can expand the solar energy on all the unutilised land of the Railways across the country, as it will save the land from encroachments. We are trying to produce power from such solar installations and feed that into the grid and use that for the Railways,” he said. Responding to criticism by members about “grand announcements” made by the minister, Goyal said, “Unless you aspire for big goals, you cannot achieve big targets”. He said the Railways was fast electrifying its tracks and was regularly bringing its diesel inputs down. “By 2022, we are going to do full electrification of Railways,” Minister of State for Railways Angadi Suresh Channabasappa said. In response to another supplementary on whether the Railways intends to raise its fares, Goyal said there is no such proposal now. “At present, there is no proposal to change the fares,” he said. The minister said during 2013-14, the Railways has electrified 650 kms of track, while in 2017-18 it has electrified 4,000 plus kms and in 2018-19 Railways has electrified over 5200 kms. “We aspire for big targets and this year’s targets are even bigger than last year,” he said. He said while the Railways will move towards complete electrification, there will still be some tracks like in border areas and in narrow gauge where it will continue to use diesel. “We are also working towards use of bio-diesel instead of diesel on such tracks,” he said. But, there will still be requirement of diesel for border areas, or narrow gauge line, where “we are making an effort to move from diesel to bio-diesel or environmentally friendly materials”, Goyal said. Both these moves will be transformational in terms of impact of climate change that Railways contributes, he noted. He said when he became a minister, 50 per cent trains coming to Delhi also were running on diesel and “we are now working to a plan that every train that comes to Delhi should come through an electric traction in the very near future”. In his written reply, the minister said, as per the latest Indian Petroleum and Natural Gas statistics published by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas for 2017-18, Indian Railways is the third largest consuming sector of high speed diesel (HSD) after resellers/retailers and road sector. Consumer wise data is not available in this publication. “Diesel fuel bill for traction has been around 20 per cent of ordinary working expenses in the year 2013-14. It is between 14 to 15 per cent from the year 2015-16 to 2018-19 (provisional figures) and there has been no significant variation in this period. “It is expected to remain in the same zone during 2019 -20 as per budgetary estimate,” the minister said Source :-    economictimes.indiatimes.com

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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