Solar power in India

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National Solar Mission in India

India is densely populated and has high solar insolation, an ideal combination for using solar power in India. In the solar energy sector, some large projects have been proposed, and a 35,000 km2 (14,000 sq mi) area of the Thar Desert has been set aside for solar power projects, sufficient to generate 700 to 2,100 GW. Also India's Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has released the JNNSM Phase 2 Draft Policy,[1] by which the Government aims to install 10 GW of Solar Power and of this 10 GW target, 4 GW would fall under the central scheme and the remaining 6 GW under various State specific schemes.

In July 2009, India unveiled a US$19 billion plan to produce 20 GW of solar power by 2020.[2] Under the plan, the use of solar-powered equipment and applications would be made compulsory in all government buildings, as well as hospitals and hotels.[3] On 18 November 2009, it was reported that India was ready to launch its National Solar Mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change, with plans to generate 1,000 MW of power by 2013.[4] From August 2011 to July 2012, India went from 2.5 MW of grid connected photovoltaics to over 1,000 MW.

According to a 2011 report by BRIDGE TO INDIA and GTM Research, India is facing a perfect storm of factors that will drive solar photovoltaic (PV) adoption at a "furious pace over the next five years and beyond". The falling prices of PV panels, mostly from China but also from the U.S., has coincided with the growing cost of grid power in India. Government support and ample solar resources have also helped to increase solar adoption, but perhaps the biggest factor has been need. India, "as a growing economy with a surging middle class, is now facing a severe electricity deficit that often runs between 10% and 13% of daily need".[5] India is planning to install the World's largest Solar Power Plant with 4,000 MW Capacity near Sambhar Lake in Rajasthan.[6]

There are various factors that we need to consider before investing into a solar power plant. A lot of enthusiasm has been seen among people about the use of Solar Energy as a substitute of conventional sources of energy. However, currently, with the power subsidies in India, solar works economical only in those areas that are using diesel generators as a primary source of electricity. The entire payback is made in 2-3 years. Solar system for petrol pumps is a leading example of such an application. IOCL is leading the race for solarization of petrol pumps with aggressive targets. Solar applications for petrol pumps by RelyOn Solar has been installed in more than 150 IOCL petrol pumps across India and now other oil companies are also looking to solarize their ROs. Solar installations for commercial buildings, where the electricity rates are higher, are also proving to be a game changer for the owners of IT companies.

On 16 May 2011, India’s first 5 MW of installed capacity solar power project was registered under the Clean Development Mechanism. The project is in Sivagangai Village, Sivaganga district, Tamil Nadu.[7]

Current status[edit]

Solar Resource Map of India

With about 300 clear, sunny days in a year, India's theoretical solar power reception, on only its land area, is about 5000 Petawatt-hours per year (PWh/yr) (i.e. 5,000 trillion kWh/yr or about 600,000 GW).[8][9][10] The daily average solar energy incident over India varies from 4 to 7 kWh/m2 with about 1,500–2,000 sunshine hours per year (depending upon location), which is far more than current total energy consumption. For example, assuming the efficiency of PV modules were as low as 10%, this would still be a thousand times greater than the domestic electricity demand projected for 2015.[8][11]

Installed capacity[edit]

India's Solar Capacity by Year
Solar capacity (Megawatts)

The amount of solar energy produced in India in 2007 was less than 1% of the total energy demand.[12] The grid-connected solar power as of December 2010 was merely 10 MW.[13] Government-funded solar energy in India only accounted for approximately 6.4 MW-yr of power as of 2005.[12] However, India is ranked number one in terms of solar energy production per watt installed, with an insolation of 1,700 to 1,900 kilowatt hours per kilowatt peak (kWh/KWp).[14] 25.1 MW was added in 2010 and 468.3 MW in 2011.[15] By January 2014 the installed grid connected solar power had increased to 2,208.36 MW,[16] and India expects to install an additional 10,000 MW by 2017, and a total of 20,000 MW by 2022.[17]

India's largest photovoltaic (PV) power plants
Name of Plant DC Peak Power
(MW)
GW·h
/year[18]
Capacity
factor
Notes
Charanka Solar Park - Charanka village, Patan district, Gujarat [19]   221 Commissioned April 2012
Welspun Energy 151MW Neemuch Solar Plant - Neemuch, Madhya Pradesh [20]   151 Commissioned February 2014
Green Energy Development Corporation Ltd (GEDCOL) - Odisha [21] 50 Commissioned 2014
Tata Power Solar Systems Ltd (TPS) - 50 MW NTPC - Rajgarh, Madhya Pradesh [22] 50 Commissioned March, 2014
Welspun Energy 50MW Rajasthan Solar Project - Phalodhi, Rajasthan [23]   50 Commissioned March 2013
Green Energy Development Corporation Ltd (GEDCOL) - Odisha [24] 48 Commissioned 2014
Bitta Solar Power Plant (Adani Power) - Bitta, Kutch District, Gujarat [25]   40 Commissioned January 2012
Dhirubhai Ambani Solar Park, Pokhran, Rajasthan [26]   40 Commissioned in April 2012
Moser Baer - Patan, Gujarat [27]   30 Commissioned October 2011
Mithapur Solar Power Plant (Tata Power) - Mithapur, Gujarat [28]   25 Commissioned 25 January 2012
Green Energy Development Corporation Ltd (GEDCOL) - Odisha [29] 20 Commissioned 2014
Sunark Solar - Odisha 10 Commissioned 2011
NTPC Limited - Odisha 10 Commissioned 2014
Raajratna Energy Holdings - Bolangir Solar Power Project 10 Commissioned 2011
Azure Power - Sabarkantha, Khadoda village, Gujarat [30]   10 Commissioned June 2011, 63 acres, using 36,000 Suntech Power panels.[31]
Green Infra Solar Energy Limited - Rajkot, Gujarat [32][33]   10 Commissioned November 2011
Waa Solar Power Plant (Madhav Power) - Surendranagar, Gujarat [34]   10 Commissioned December 2011
Tata Patapur - Odisha 9 Commissioned 2012 ,
Skygen Infrabuild - Odisha 5 Commissioned 2011 ,
Konark Kranti Energy - Odisha 5 Commissioned 2011 ,
Mahindra & Mahindra Solar Plant, Jodhpur, Rajasthan [35]   5 Completed in January 2012
Sivaganga Photovoltaic Plant, Tamil Nadu [36]   5 Completed December 2010
Citra and Sepset Power Plants, Katol, Maharashtra [37]   4 Commissioned October 2011
Sunark Solar - Odisha 3 Commissioned 2011 ,
Abacus Holdings - Odisha 3 Commissioned 2011 ,
Orion Solar - Odisha 3 Commissioned 2011 ,
Skygen Infrabuild - Odisha 3 Commissioned 2011 ,
IIT Bombay - Gwal Pahari, Haryana [38]   3 Commissioned 26 September 2011
Itnal Photovoltaic Plant, Belgaum, Karnataka [39]   3 Completed April 2010
Kolar Photovoltaic Plant, Yalesandra, Kolar District, Karnataka [40]   3 Completed May 2010
Tata Power - Mulshi, Maharashtra [41]   3 Commissioned April 2011
Azure Power - Ahwan Photovoltaic Plant, Punjab [32][42]   2 December 2009
Jamuria Photovoltaic Plant, West Bengal [43]   2 August 2009
TAL Solar Power Plant - Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh [44]   2 Commissioned January 2012
M G M Minerals - Odisha 1 Commissioned 2010 ,
Raajratna Energy Holdings - Odisha 1 Commissioned 2011
Tata Power - Odisha 1 Commissioned 2011 ,
Amruth Solar Power Plant - Kadiri, Andhra Pradesh   1 Commissioned March 2012
B&G Solar Pvt Ltd - Mayiladuthurai, Tamil Nadu [45]   1 India's First plant Commissioned under JNNSM scheme 10 June 2011
Gandhinagar Solar Plant, Gujarat [46]   1 21 January 2011
NDPC Photovoltaic Plant, Delhi [47]   1 2010
Numeric Power Systems, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu [48]   1 Commissioned February 2012
Rasna Marketing Services LLP, Ahmedabad, Gujarat [49]   1 Completed in December 2011
Solid Solar by Gautam Polymers, Delhi, Haryana, UP, Tamil Nadu [50]   1
Tata Power - Osmanabad, Maharastra [51]   1 Commissioned 1 August 2011
Thyagaraj stadium Plant - Delhi [52]   1 April 2010
Zynergy, Vannankulam village, Peraiyur, Madurai district, Tamil Nadu [53]   1 Commissioned January 2012
Chandraleela Power Energy - Narnaul, Haryana [54][55]   0.8 Commissioned 15 January 2012, (EPC by Aryav Green Energy Solutions Pvt. Ltd.)
State MWp  % Ref
Andhra Pradesh 41.75 3.18 [56]
Chhattisgarh 4.0 0.30
Delhi 2.5 0.19
Gujarat 654.8 49.90
Haryana 7.8 0.59
Jharkhand 4.0 0.30
Karnataka 9.0 0.69
Madhya Pradesh 132.0 9.15
Maharashtra 20.0 1.38
Odisha 13.0 0.99
Punjab 9.0 0.69
Rajasthan 510.25 38.89 [57]
Tamil Nadu 15.0 1.14
Uttar Pradesh 12.0 0.91
Uttarakhand 5.0 0.38
West Bengal 2.0 0.15
Total 1442.10 100 [17][58]

Solar power in Gujarat[edit]

Main article: Gujarat Solar Park

Gujarat has been a leader in solar power generation and contributes 2/3rd of the 900 MW of photovoltaics in the country.The State has commissioned Asia’s biggest solar park at Charanka village. The park is already generating 2 MW solar power out of its total planned capacity of 500 MW. The park has been functioning on a multi-developers and multi-beneficiaries paradigm and has been awarded for being the most innovative and environment-friendly project by the CII.

With a view to make Gandhinagar a solar city, the State government has launched a roof-top solar power generation scheme. Under this scheme, the State plans to generate five megawatt of solar power by putting solar panels on about 50 state government buildings and on 500 private buildings. The State has also a plan to emulate this project in Rajkot, Surat, Bhavnagar and Vadodara in 2012-13.

The State plans to generate solar power by putting solar panels on the Narmada canal branches. As a part of this scheme, the State has already commissioned a one megawatt solar plant on a branch of the Narmada Canal near Chandrasan area of Anand taluka. This also helps by stopping 90,000 liter water/year of the Narmada river from evaporating.

Solar power in Rajasthan[edit]

Rajasthan is one of the states of India in the field of solar energy. The total photovoltaic capacity has passed 500 MW, reaching 510.25 MW at the end of the 2012-13 fiscal year.[59] The district of Jodhpur leads with 42 projects totalling 293 MW, followed by Jaisalmer and Bikaner. In total there were 84 projects with installed capacity of 512.9.[57] The French group AREVA solar is currently engaged in constructing a 250 MW concentrated solar power (CSP) installation which will become the largest CSP installation in Asia.[60][61][62] A 4,000MW Ultra Mega Green Solar Power Project (UMPP) is being built near Sambhar Lake in Rajasthan. Upon Completion, it would be world's largest Solar Power Plant. It is expected to be built in 4 phases, with the first phase likely to be commissioned by the end of 2016 with 1,000 MW capacity. The total cost of each phase of the project is estimated to be INR70 billion (US$1.1 billion) and the entire project is expected to be completed in 7 years. The present Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put great emphasis on solar projects and is inviting FDI in this sector. [63]

Solar power in Maharashtra[edit]

The Shri Sai Baba Sansthan Trust has the world's largest solar steam system. It was constructed at the Shirdi shrine at an estimated cost of Rs.1.33 crore, Rs.58.4 lakh of which was paid as a subsidy by the renewable energy ministry. The system is used to cook 50,000 meals per day for pilgrims visiting the shrine, resulting in annual savings of 100,000 kg of cooking gas and has been designed to generate steam for cooking even in the absence of electricity to run the feed water pump for circulating water in the system. The project to install and commission the system was completed in seven months and the system has a design life of 25 years.[64][65][66]Osmanabad region in Maharashtra has been blessed with abundance of sunlight and is ranked the third best region in India in terms of solar insolation. A 10 MW solar power plant in Osmanabad, Maharashtra by RelyOn Solar, generates approximately 18 Lac units per MW which is the highest generation in Maharashtra by any other solar power plant. This plant was commissioned in 2013 and the records of one complete year are available. [67]

Solar power in Madhya Pradesh[edit]

The Welspun Solar MP project, the largest solar power plant in India set up at a cost of Rs. 1,100 crore on 305 hectares of land, will supply power at Rs. 8.05 a kWh. The project of a 130MW solar power plant at Bhagwanpur in Neemuch was launched by Gujarat chief Minister, Narendra Modi.

“Ujaas Energy Limited , an Indore based company which is listed on BSE /NSE . It has installed over 105 MWs in five solar parks viz. , Rajgarh , Barod, Ichchhawar , Rojhani and Susner , in Madhya Pradesh . The company is proud to be backed by Mr Amitabh Bachhcan who holds 1.6 % stake according to latest filing. Ujaas is the pioneer of solar REC Mechanism in India". Apart from company’s innovative PLUG & PLAY Ujaas Park model where it provides an end to end solution to the investors , the company has also done substantial solar roof top installations in Chennai ,UP,AP,( Noida,Greater Noida )Delhi/NCR region etc... under the allocation from SECI-Phase-II and under JNNSM.

Ujaas has ranked at No 2 as India’s Fastest Growing Company by a renowned magazine on Renewable Energy , Business World .

The company has made it onto prestigious Forbes Asia's 200 Best Under a Billion dollar Companies list.”.

Vivaan Solar, Gwalior based company started in Aug. 2012 has also completed 15 MW in Kadodiya Village, Ujjain.[68][69][70]

Applications[edit]

Rural electrification[edit]

Lack of electricity infrastructure is one of the main hurdles in the development of rural India. India's grid system is considerably under-developed, with major sections of its populace still surviving off-grid. As of 2004 there are about 80,000 unelectrified villages in the country. Of these villages, 18,000 could not be electrified through extension of the conventional grid. A target for electrifying 5,000 such villages was set for the Tenth National Five Year Plan (2002–2007). As of 2004, more than 2,700 villages and hamlets had been electrified, mainly using solar photovoltaic systems.[8] Developments in cheap solar technology are considered as a potential alternative that allows an electricity infrastructure consisting of a network of local-grid clusters with distributed electricity generation.[12] It could allow bypassing (or at least relieving) the need to install expensive, lossy, long-distance, centralized power delivery systems and yet bring cheap electricity to the masses.

India currently has around 1.2 million solar home lighting systems and 3.2 million solar lanterns sold/distributed.[71] Also, India has been ranked the number one market in Asia for solar off-grid products.[72]

Projects currently planned include 3,000 villages of Orissa, which will be lighted with solar power by 2014.[73][74][75][76]

Solar lamps and lighting[edit]

By 2012, a total of 4,600,000 solar lanterns and 861,654 solar powered home lights had been installed. These typically replace kerosene lamps and can be purchased for the cost of a few months worth of kerosene through a small loan. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is offering a 30% to 40% subsidy for the cost of lanterns, home lights and small systems up to 210 Wp.[77] 20 million solar lamps are expected by 2022.[78]

Agricultural support[edit]

Solar PV water pumping systems are used for irrigation and drinking water. The majority of the pumps are fitted with a 200–3,000 watt motor that are powered with 1,800 Wp PV array which can deliver about 140,000 litres (37,000 US gal) of water per day from a total head of 10 metres (33 ft). By 30 September 2006, a total of 7,068 solar PV water pumping systems had been installed,[12] and by March 2012, 7,771 had been installed.[79]

Solar driers are used to dry harvests before storage.[80]

Solar water heaters[edit]

Bangalore has the largest deployment of roof top solar water heaters in India. These heaters generate an energy equivalent of 200 MW.[81]

Bangalore is also the first city in the country to put in place an incentive mechanism by providing a rebate of INR50 (81¢ US) on monthly electricity bills for residents using roof-top thermal systems.[82] These systems are now mandatory for all new structures.

Pune has also recently made installation of solar water heaters in new buildings mandatory.[83]

Challenges and opportunities[edit]

Price history of silicon PV cells since 1977

Land is a scarce resource in India and per capita land availability is low. Dedication of land area for exclusive installation of solar arrays might have to compete with other necessities that require land. The amount of land required for utility-scale solar power plants — currently approximately 1 km2 (250 acres) for every 20–60 MW generated[12] — could pose a strain on India's available land resource. The architecture more suitable for most of India would be a highly distributed set of individual rooftop power generation systems, all connected via a local grid.[12] However, erecting such an infrastructure, which does not enjoy the economies of scale possible in mass, utility-scale, solar panel deployment, needs the market price of solar technology deployment to substantially decline, so that it attracts the individual and average family size household consumer. That might be possible in the future, because PV is projected to continue its current cost reductions for the next decades and be able to compete with fossil fuel.[84][8] Government can provide subsidies for the production of PV panels, in which there will be reduction in the market price and this can lead to more usage of solar power in India. In the past three years, solar-generation costs here have dropped from around INR18 (29¢ US) a kWh to about INR7 (11¢ US) a kWh, whereas power from imported coal and domestically-produced natural gas currently costs around INR4.5 (7.3¢ US) a kWh and it is increasing with time.[63] Experts believe that ultra mega solar power plants like the upcoming world’s largest 4,000 MW UMPP in Rajasthan, would be able to produce power for around INR5 (8.1¢ US) a kWh.[63]

Some noted think-tanks[8][85][86] recommend that India should adopt a policy of developing solar power as a dominant component of the renewable energy mix, since being a densely populated region[87] in the sunny tropical belt,[88][89] the subcontinent has the ideal combination of both high solar insolation[88] and therefore a big potential consumer base density.[8][90][91][92][93] In one of the analysed scenarios,[86] India can make renewable resources such as solar the backbone of its economy by 2050, reining in its long-term carbon emissions without compromising its economic growth potential.

Government support[edit]

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Solar Radiation Resource Assessment stations in India

51 Solar Radiation Resource Assessment stations have been installed across India by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to monitor the availability of solar energy. Data is collected and reported to the Centre for Wind Energy Technology (C-WET), in order to create a Solar Atlas.[94]

The government of India is promoting the use of solar energy through various strategies. In the latest budget for 2010/11, the government has announced an allocation of 1000 crore towards the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission and the establishment of a clean energy fund. It is an increase of 380 crore from the previous budget. This new budget has also encouraged private solar companies by reducing customs duty on solar panels by 5% and exempting excise duty on solar photovoltaic panels. This is expected to reduce the cost of a roof-top solar panel installation by 15–20%. The budget also proposed a coal tax of US$1 per metric ton on domestic and imported coal used for power generation.[95] Additionally, the government has initiated a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC)[96] scheme, which is designed to drive investment in low-carbon energy projects.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy provides 70 percent subsidy on the installation cost of a solar photovoltaic power plant in North-East states and 30 percentage subsidy on other regions. The detailed outlay of the National Solar Mission highlights various targets set by the government to increase solar energy in the country's energy portfolio.

The Mysore City Corporation has decided to set up a mega Solar power plant in Mysore with 50% concession from the Government of India.[97]

The Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (Mahagenco) has made plans for setting up more power plants in the state to take up total generation up to 200 MW.[98]

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation plans to install rooftop solar power plants at Anand Vihar and Pragati Maidan Metro stations and its residential complex at Pushp Vihar.[99]

Reeling under an acute power crises, the Government of Tamil Nadu has recently unveiled its new Solar Energy Policy which aims at increasing the installed solar capacity from the current approximate of 20 MW to over 3000 MW by 2015. The policy aims at fixing a 6% solar energy requirement on industries and residential buildings for which incentives in the form of tax rebates and current tariff rebates of up to Rs.1 / unit will be applicable to those who comply with the Solar Energy Policy. The policy also gives an option to those industries/buildings who do not want to install rooftop solar photo-voltaic systems to invest in the government's policy and be given the same incentives as explained above.[100]

Statistics[edit]

Installed PV capacity (in MW)[101]
Year
End
Total
Capacity
Yearly
Installation
2010 161
2011 461 300
2012 1,205 744
2013 2,319 1,114

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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