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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
If he was paying Rs 2.5 lakh every month as electricity bill, then he would save around Rs 90,000 once the system started producing power

City residents are catching up with solar energy and coming forward to install panels on their rooftops. They are not only producing energy, but also saving money as their electricity bills have reduced to half or even lesser.

A resident of Vikas Nagar on Pakhowal Road, Dr Renu Beri, got 7kW solar panels installed at her house around a year ago. She said, “To harness natural resources, we decided to set up a system that is generating 35 units a day during summer. Till now it has generated around 9,200 units. Our electricity bill has come down from Rs 10,000 per month to just Rs 2,500 and we are very happy.”

Beri said her daughter, who is married in Jalandhar, has also got the panels installed at her house and her son in the US would also follow suit. “Initial cost is high, but low bills offset it,” she said, adding that they were also waiting for the launch of electric car.

BRS Nagar’s Amarjot Singh Bajaj has got 100 kW capacity solar panels installed atop his unit in Focal Point. “Sunrays are reaching us free of cost and we should utilize them for producing energy. The plant was installed a week ago. It will start functioning in a day or so. It will help save a lot of money,” he said.

If he was paying Rs 2.5 lakh every month as electricity bill, then he would save around Rs 90,000 once the system started producing power. After seeing the result, he would install these panels at home too, he added.

Apinder Sodhi from Dugri Phase 3, who had got the panels installed last year to develop her house into a green building, shared, “When my house was under construction, I was keen to get solar panels. I have 5 kW capacity system, which daily produces 25-26 units. The energy goes to national grid and the bill gets adjusted. I was paying Rs 16,000 on an average per month. The bill has now come down to Rs 7,000-Rs 8,000.”

Rajesh Jain, a businessman and resident of Mahavir Enclave, had got installed a solar water heater on his rooftop 10 years ago. Jain said, “We use hot water for bathing, washing and other purposes in summer too. With this system, we are getting hot water free of cost. When we use pre-heated water for tea or washing clothes, we save gas and energy. I want to install solar panels as well, but am waiting for some advanced technology.”

Source : – Ludhiana: City residents writing sunshine stories to save energy

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

Delhi, Energy Power, Solar
The city’s much-needed push for solar energy could be just around the corner with Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) finally notifying the group net metering (GNM) and virtual net metering (VNM) framework, which will benefit thousands of RWAs, households and CGHS societies. 

delhi Solar Plant
Users will be able to benefit from a single solar plant at one location with the surplus energy being sent back to the grid and adjusted with the bill of each meter connected to it. This will, in theory, allow members of a society and consumers to reduce their monthly bills. 

After the Delhi solar policy was issued in 2016, the power watchdog had constituted a committee for developing this framework and issued draft guidelines under DERC (Net Metering for Renewable Energy) Regulations, 2014 last year. The framework has finally been notified after objections and comments were collected from the general public by January 2019. 

“The move will help in the promotion and deployment of renewable energy projects in residential and agricultural sectors benefitting lakhs of citizens and farmers. At present, we have about 630 net metering connections and this number will shoot up once we implement the order. We are in the process of making changes in the billing mechanism to implement it,” said a Tata Power-DDL spokesperson. 
BSES said consumers can apply for net metering on their website. “We had earlier launched a Solar City Initiative to bridge the gap between the consumer and the vendor. Post-installation, BSES will carry out an inspection to assess the quality and check whether it has been done according to the minimum technical requirements,” said a BSES official. 

At present, Tata Power NSE 4.30 % has around 630 net-metered connections with a capacity of 25 MW, while BSES has 1,600 with a capacity of 60 MW. According to BSES, a 100kW plant can save up to 1,27,750 units annually equalling annual savings of Rs 9.26 lakh. A 5KW plant can bring annual savings of Rs 46,300. 

The discoms said that to apply for the project, people can simply contact them after which a feasibility test would be carried out and bills assessed to find out the requirement for a household or colony. “Depending on the consumption and the bill amount, we will be able to decide on the solar panel capacity. Different CGHS societies are thriving with solar panels capacities ranging from 50kW to 200kW,” said a BSES official. 

Vendors said the amount invested in a solar panel can be recovered in the form of savings in just 5-6 years. “This is a safe estimate and the actual invested amount is recovered in close to four years. There are immense benefits to go solar as the product is a long-term investment,” said Abhishek Dabas, co-founder at Zolt Energy, a private solar-panel supplying company. 

Sanjeev Aggarwal, MD and CEO of Amplus Solar, said the risk in investment is generally low and savings can be as high as 90% of the total bill, depending on the plant size and consumption pattern. “On average, a 5kWp standard rooftop installation will cost Rs 3-4 lakh. If one opts for subsidy, they can avail 30% of the plant cost from MNRE through the state nodal agency,” he added. 

However, Pujarini Sen, a campaigner at Greenpeace India, said the notification process has taken far too long to allow people to avail subsidies for solar plants. “The important thing now is to make the consumers aware about it and facilitate it, especially at the residential level. Once popular, the load on the grid and electricity bills will reduce, benefitting both the consumer and the discoms,” she added. 

Source : – Solar power can save you Rs 46,000 in yearly bill