Solar power in India
With about 300 clear, sunny days in a year, India's theoretically calculated solar energy incidence on its land area alone, is about 5,000 trillion kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year (or 5 EWh/yr). The solar energy available in a year exceeds the possible energy output of all fossil fuel energy reserves in India. The daily average solar power plant generation capacity over India is 0.25 kWh per m2 of used land area, which is equivalent to about 1,500–2,000 peak (rated) capacity operating hours in a year with the available commercially-proven technologies.
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. In January 2015, the Indian government significantly expanded its solar plans, targeting US$100 billion of investment and 100 GW of solar capacity by 2022.
- 1 Current status
- 2 State wise installed solar power
- 3 Solar power in Andhra Pradesh
- 4 Solar power in Gujarat
- 5 Solar power in Rajasthan
- 6 Solar power in Maharashtra
- 7 Solar power in Madhya Pradesh
- 8 Projects
- 9 Applications
- 10 Challenges and opportunities
- 11 Government support
- 12 Hybrid solar plants
- 13 Statistics
- 14 Bulk raw materials of solar panels
- 15 See also
- 16 References
- 17 External links
Government-funded solar electricity in India was approximately 6.4 MW per year as of 2005. India is ranked number one in terms of solar electricity production per watt installed, with an insolation of 1,700 to 1,900 kilowatt hours per kilowatt peak (kWh/KWp). 25.1 MW was added in 2010 and 468.3 MW in 2011. As of 31 December 2015, the installed grid connected solar power capacity is 4,879 MW, and India expects to install an additional 10,000 MW by 2017, and a total of 100,000 MW by 2022.
State wise installed solar power
|Year||Cumulative Capacity (in MW)|
|Andaman & Nicobar||5.10|
|Daman & Diu||4.00|
Solar power in Andhra Pradesh
The installed capacity is 279 MW as of September 2015. During the year 2014, APTransCo has entered into agreements with IPPs to install 619 MW. NTPC also entered into agreement in the year 2015 with APTransCo to install 250 MW plant (first phase of the 1,000-MW ultra solar power project) in the economically backward Anantapur district.
Solar power in Gujarat
Gujarat has been a leader in solar power generation and contributes 2/3rd of the 900 MW of photovoltaics in the country. The State of Gujarat has commissioned Asia’s largest 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 making Gandhinagar a solar-power 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
With regard to solar energy production, Rajasthan is one of India's most solar-developed states. There its total photovoltaic capacity has passed 500 MW, having reached 510.25 MW by the end of the 2012-13 fiscal year. The district of Jodhpur leads with 42 projects totaling 293 MW, followed by Jaisalmer and Bikaner. In total, there were 84 projects with installed capacity of 512.9. 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. 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 ₹70 billion (US$1.0 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.
Solar power in Maharashtra
Sakri solar plant is the biggest solar power plant in the state with 125 MW capacity. 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. 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.
Solar power in Madhya Pradesh
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 the previous Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi. This is the largest solar producer and one of the top three companies in renewable energy sector in India.
"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 owns 45MW of solar park capacity in Madhya Pradesh. The plant is located in Kadodiya Village, Ujjain district. The company has also stepped forward in providing rooftop solar solutions for homes and business users.
There is an upcoming 750 MW solar power plant project in Madhya Pradesh in the district of Rewa which, when completed, will be the world's largest solar power plant, backing the Desert Sunlight project in California.
India's major solar power production facilities are
|Name of Plant||DC Peak Power
|Capacity factor [clarification needed]||Notes|
|IIT Delhi, Delhi||1||Commissioned January 2015. Installed by Novus Green Energy Systems|
|Infosys complex, Hyderabad||7.2||Commissioned December 2015. Expected power generation 13 million KWh/year at Rs 2.8 per KWh.|
|DonBosco, Kurla, Omega Natural Polarity (ONP) Mumbai-Maharashtra||0.1||Commissioned December 2014|
|Ushodaya Project - Smarttrak Solar Systems, Midjil, Telangana||10||Commissioned December 2013|
|Charanka Solar Park - Charanka village, Patan district, Gujarat ||221||Commissioned April 2012|
|Welspun Solar MP project 151 MW Neemuch Solar Plant - Neemuch, Madhya Pradesh ||151||Commissioned February 2014|
|Sakri solar plant- Maharashtra||125||Commissioned March 2013|
|Green Energy Development Corporation Ltd (GEDCOL) - Odisha ||50||Commissioned 2014|
|Tata Power Solar Systems Ltd (TPS) - 50 MW NTPC - Rajgarh, Madhya Pradesh ||50||Commissioned March, 2014|
|Welspun Energy 50MW Rajasthan Solar Project - Phalodhi, Rajasthan ||50||Commissioned March 2013|
|Green Energy Development Corporation Ltd (GEDCOL) - Odisha ||48||Commissioned 2014|
|Bitta Solar Power Plant (Adani Power) - Bitta, Kutch District, Gujarat ||40||Commissioned January 2012|
|Dhirubhai Ambani Solar Park, Pokhran, Rajasthan ||40||Commissioned in April 2012|
|Welspun 34 MW, Bathinda, Punjab ||34||Commissioned in August 2015|
|Moser Baer - Patan, Gujarat ||30||Commissioned October 2011|
|Mithapur Solar Power Plant (Tata Power) - Mithapur, Gujarat ||25||Commissioned 25 January 2012|
|Green Energy Development Corporation Ltd (GEDCOL) - Odisha ||20||Commissioned 2014|
|Vivaan Solar - Madhya Pradesh||15||Commissioned 2014|
|Sunark Solar - Odisha||10||Commissioned 2011|
|NTPC Limited - Odisha||10||Commissioned 2014|
|Raajratna Energy Holdings - Bolangir Solar Power Project - Odisha||10||Commissioned 2011|
|Azure Power - Sabarkantha, Khadoda village, Gujarat ||10||Commissioned June 2011, 63 acres, using 36,000 Suntech Power panels.|
|Green Infra Solar Energy Limited - Rajkot, Gujarat ||10||Commissioned November 2011|
|Waa Solar Power Plant (Madhav Power) - Surendranagar, Gujarat ||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 ||5||Completed in January 2012|
|Sivaganga Photovoltaic Plant, Tamil Nadu ||5||Completed December 2010|
|Citra and Sepset Power Plants, Katol, Maharashtra ||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 ||3||Commissioned 26 September 2011|
|Itnal Photovoltaic Plant, Belgaum, Karnataka ||3||Completed April 2010|
|Kolar Photovoltaic Plant, Yalesandra, Kolar District, Karnataka ||3||Completed May 2010|
|Tata Power - Mulshi, Maharashtra ||3||Commissioned April 2011|
|Tata Power Solar- Murugan Textiles, Palladam, Tamil Nadu ||2||August 2014|
|Azure Power - Awan Photovoltaic Plant, Punjab ||2||December 2009|
|Jamuria Photovoltaic Plant, West Bengal ||2||August 2009|
|TAL Solar Power Plant - Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh ||2||Commissioned January 2012|
|Omega Renk Bearings Pvt. Ltd. Solar Plant - Madhya Pradesh||1.5||Commissioned 2013|
|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 ||1||India's First plant Commissioned under JNNSM scheme 10 June 2011|
|Gandhinagar Solar Plant, Gujarat ||1||21 January 2011|
|NDPC Photovoltaic Plant, Delhi ||1||2010|
|Numeric Power Systems, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu ||1||Commissioned February 2012|
|Rasna Marketing Services LLP, Ahmedabad, Gujarat ||1||Completed in December 2011|
|Solid Solar by Gautam Polymers, Delhi, Haryana, UP, Tamil Nadu ||1|
|Tata Power - Osmanabad, Maharashtra ||1||Commissioned 1 August 2011|
|Urja Global Limited - Jharkhand, Delhi ||1||Commissioned 1 August 2012|
|Thyagaraj stadium Plant - Delhi ||1||April 2010|
|Zynergy, Vannankulam village, Peraiyur, Madurai district, Tamil Nadu ||1||Commissioned January 2012|
|Chandraleela Power Energy - Narnaul, Haryana ||0.8||Commissioned 15 January 2012, (EPC by Aryav Green Energy Solutions Pvt. Ltd.)|
|Azure Power - Rajasthan Photovoltaic Plant, Rajasthan ||5||December 2011|
|Azure Power - Rajasthan Photovoltaic Plant, Rajasthan ||35||February 2013|
|Sharda Construction - Latur, Maharashtra ||10||Commissioned in June 2015, (EPC by Waaree Energies Limited)|
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, about 80,000 of the nation's villages had not yet become electrified. Of these villages, 18,000 could not be electrified through an 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. 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. 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. Also, India has been ranked the number one market in Asia for solar off-grid products.
Solar lamps and lighting
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. 20 million solar lamps are expected by 2022.
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, and by March 2012, 7,771 had been installed.
Solar driers are used to dry harvests before storage.
Solar water heaters
Bangalore is also the first city in the country to put in place an incentive mechanism by providing a rebate of ₹50 (74¢ US) on monthly electricity bills for residents using roof-top thermal systems. These systems are now mandatory for all new structures.
Power grid stabilisation
Solar power plants equipped with battery storage system wherever net energy metering is implemented, can use the stored electricity to feed electricity into the power grid when its frequency is below the rated parameter (50 Hz) and draw the excess cheap power from the grid when its frequency is above the rated parameter. Every day, frequency excursions above and below the rated grid frequency are of the order of 100 times in a day. The solar power plant owner would get nearly double the price for the electricity sent into the grid compared to the electricity consumed from the grid if frequency based tariff is offered to the roof top solar power plants or solar power plants dedicated to a distribution substation. There is no need of power purchase agreement (PPA) for the solar power plants with battery storage system to effectively serve ancillary services operations and to transmit generated electricity for captive consumption utilising open access facility.
Challenges and opportunities
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 40–60 MW generated — may pose a strain on India's available land resource. One alternative is to use the water surface area available on canals, lakes, reservoirs and sea for locating large capacity solar power plants. These water bodies can also provide the water needed for periodic cleaning of the solar panels. It is also possible to use the high ways and rail tracks to avoid excessive cost of land nearer to load centres and minimise transmission lines cost by installing solar power plants at nearly 10 meters height above the roads or rail tracks. It would also protect the high ways from damage from rain & intense summer heat and offer additional comfort to the commuters. 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. 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 and be able to compete with fossil fuel. In the year 2015, the levelized tariff in US$ for solar electricity using thin film technology based solar PV modules has fallen below 4 cents/kWh which is far cheaper than the electricity sale price from coal based electricity generation plants in India. Indian government has recently reduced the solar power purchase price from maximum allowed levelized tariff of 5.79 Rs/KWh to 4.43 Rs/KWh in view of steep fall in the cost of the solar power generation equipment. The applicable tariff is after allowing either viability gap funding (VGF) or accelerated depreciation (AD) incentives.
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 ₹18 (26¢ US) a kWh to about ₹7 (10¢ US) a kWh, whereas power from imported coal and domestically-produced natural gas currently costs around ₹4.5 (6.6¢ US) a kWh and it is increasing with time. 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 ₹5 (7.4¢ US) a kWh.
Some noted think-tanks 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 in the sunny tropical belt, the subcontinent has the ideal combination of both high solar insolation and therefore a big potential consumer base density. In one of the analysed scenarios, 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. A recent study has suggested that 100 GW of solar power could be generated through a mix of utility-scale and rooftop solar, with the realizable potential for rooftop solar between 57 GW to 76 GW by 2024.
It is prudent to encourage solar power plants installation up to a threshold limit (say 7,000 MW) by giving direct or indirect incentives. Otherwise, dubious short sighted financial operators from all over the world would take over the industry to encash the liberal Indian bank loans offered by installing substandard and shorter life solar power plant equipment with over rated nameplate capacity. The solar power purchaser (DisComs, etc.), solar power transmission agency (TransCos) and the Indian financial institutions should insist for annual penalty payment from IPPs for not meeting minimum guaranteed capacity utilisation and long term performance guarantee for the equipment backed by insurance coverage to ensure that the guarantee works even after the OEM becomes bankrupt.
Solar Radiation Resource Assessment stations (51 nos) have been installed across India by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to create database of solar energy potential. Data is collected and reported to the Centre for Wind Energy Technology (C-WET), in order to create a Solar Atlas. In June 2015, India started a 40 crore project to measure of solar radiation with a spatial resolution of 3 km x 3 km. Built over a period of three years and a cost of nearly `40 crore, the solar radiation measuring network will be the basis on which the Indian Solar Radiation Atlas will function on. According to officials at NIWE - Solar Radiation Resource Assessment wing(SRRA) 121 ground stations would measure the three parameters of Solar radiation ‑- Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI), Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI) and Diffuse Horizontal Irradiance (DHI) to give a highly accurate measure of solar radiation in a particular region.
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. Additionally, the government has initiated a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) 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.
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.
As of end July 2015, the following are the five most prominent incentives:
1. Accelerated Depreciation: For profit making enterprises installing rooftop solar systems, 80% of total investment can be claimed as depreciation in the first year. This will significantly decrease tax to be paid in Year 1 for profit making companies.
2. Capital Subsidies: Capital subsidies are applicable to rooftop solar power plants, up to a maximum of 500 kW. While the original capital subsidy was 30%, it has recently been reduced to 15%.
3. Renewable Energy Certificates: Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) are tradable certificates that provide an incentive to those who generate green power by providing financial incentives for every unit of power they generate.
4. Net Metering Incentives: Net metering incentives depends on two aspects - whether the net meter is installed and the other is the incentive policy of the utility company. If there is a net metering incentive policy in our state and if there is a net meter on our rooftop, then we can get financial incentives for the power generated.
5. Assured Power Purchase Agreement (PPA): The power distribution and purchase companies owned by state and central governments, guarantee the purchase of solar power as and when it is produced. The PPAs offer high price equal to that of peaking power on demand for the solar power which is secondary power or negative load and an intermittent energy source on daily basis.
Hybrid solar plants
In India, solar power is often built to be complementary to wind power as it is generated mostly during the non-monsoon period in daytime. Solar power plants can be located in the inter-space between the towers of wind power plants or nearby area with common power evacuation facility. It is also complementary with hydro electricity, which is generated mainly during India's monsoon months. Solar power plants can be installed close to existing hydro power and pumped-storage hydroelectricity plants with advantage to utilise the existing power evacuation infrastructure jointly and store the surplus secondary power generated by the solar power plants.
|Installed PV capacity (in MW)|
|30 November 2015||4,680|
|14 January 2016||5,130|||
Bulk raw materials of solar panels
Other than high purity silica wafers or rare earth metal tellurium with cadmium (thin film type), the bulk of the solar panel weight (nearly 80%) consists of flat glass. 100 to 150 tons of flat glass is used in manufacturing one MW capacity solar PV modules. Flat glass or float glass is manufactured from soda ash and silica. Soda ash manufacturing from common salt, is highly energy intensive process if not extracted from soda lakes or glasswort plants. To enable exponential increase in the installation of PV type solar power plants, production capacity of flat glass along with its raw materials, needs to be rapidly expanded in the country to eliminate future imports / supply constraints.
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