The rapid urbanisation and industrialisation have led to the increase in the demand for energy mainly electricity. The coal based electricity generation is not a long-term solution due to the scarce raw material and the environmental degradation. India is moving towards sustainable solution by adopting mix of renewable energy solution. The focus is on harnessing solar energy on a grand scale. India is gearing up to generate 100 GW of solar energy by 2022. Sandeep Sharma takes a look at the solar energy sector in India.
FACTS AND FIGURES
Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has reported that the total solar energy production in the year 2018-19 was 21.365 Billion Units (BUs), as on 31.10.2018. In the last three years, the country could generate 7.448 BUs (2015-16), 13.499 BUs (2016-17) and 25.871 BUs (2017-18). As per the recent year end review report of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the country attains global 4th and 5th positions in the wind and solar power installed capacities; India now at 5th global position for overall installed renewable energy capacity. The Government has revised the target of Grid Connected Solar Power Projects from 20,000 MW by the year 2021-22 to 100,000 MW by the year 2021-22 under the National Solar Mission. The country currently has the fifth highest solar installed capacity in the world with total installed capacity of 24.33 GW as on October, 2018 against a target of 100 GW by 2022. Further, 22.8 GW capacity is under implementation or have been tendered out. The Government has set a target of installing 40 GW of the grid connected rooftop solar capacity in the country including Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) by year 2022.
Mercom has recently reported that China added a whopping 34.5 GW of solar PV capacity in first nine months of 2018 according to data released by National Energy Administration. India’s solar installations came in second position worldwide during the first nine months of 2018 with 6.6 MW solar capacity additions. The United States has added about 6.5 MW of solar PV capacity in the first nine months according to SEIA/Wood Mackenzie. Mercom has forecast 8 GW of solar PV installations for India in 2018 considering the strong pipeline of projects.
India follows a transparent and competitive mechanism to fix the solar tariff. The tariff for grid-connected solar power projects is determined through competitive bidding process involving reverse e-auction. This has significantly brought down the solar tariff from around Rs 18/kWh in 2010 to Rs. 2.44/kWh in 2018 due to various factors like economies of scale, assured availability of land and power evacuation systems, etc. In a recent development, the solar tariff of Rs 2.84/kWh was quoted in the auction conducted by the Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (GUVNL) for setting up 700 MW of solar power projects. The projects are slated to be set up under Phase III of Raghanesda Solar Park located in the state of Gujarat. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy plans to bid out remaining solar power capacity in 2018-19 and 2019-20 targeting capacity addition of 100 GW by 2022.
The solar parks are installations of multiple solar photovoltaic modules by different firms at one location leveraging the availability of the required infrastructural facilities. To boost solar power generation in a big way, the government of India is encouraging to set up solar parks across the country. So far, 47 solar parks of aggregate capacity 26,694 MW has been approved in 21 States up to November, 2018. Over 1,00,000 lakh acre of land have been identified for various solar parks out of which over 75,000 acre have been acquired. Solar projects of aggregate capacity 4195 MW have been commissioned inside various solar parks.
The Government is promoting the development of solar energy in the country by providing various fiscal and promotional incentives. The Government of India has taken various steps to increase generation of renewable energy. These inter-alia, include the following:
The Government of India is going ahead to promote manufacturing of solar cells and modules locally. The domestic manufacturing of solar cells and modules is being supported through Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (M-SIPS) of the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology. The scheme inter alia, provides for: 1) 20-25% subsidy for investments in capital expenditure for setting up of the manufacturing facility. 2) Reimbursement of countervailing Duty (CVD)/ Excise Duty for capital equipment for the units outside Special Economic Zone (SEZ). The Government of India has made it mandatory to source solar cells and modules locally for all those rooftop solar projects which are implemented with central financial assistance and the ones which are being implemented by the Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs).
The Government of Haryana launched the ‘Manohar Jyoti Yojana’ in 2017 to promote solar energy. Under this program, the government plans to install as many as 1,00,000 solar lighting systems across the state. The state government has announced that it would provide subsidy to the tune of Rs 15,000 to consumers for installing solar home systems under the ‘Manohar Jyoti Yojana’ which aims to promote renewable energy in the state. To harness solar energy in rural areas, the state government has decided to install solar projects on gram panchayat lands through Haryana Power Generation Corporation Ltd (HPGCL).
The Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd (KREDL) plans to develop 50 MW of solar projects at Pavagada Solar Park, located in Tumkur district of Karnataka. The bid deadline was recently extended for the selection of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for developing the solar power project.
Greater Visakhapatnam Smart City Corporation Ltd (GVSCCL) has decided to set up 15 MW of floating solar farm under the Smart City Mission at Meghadri Gedda reservoir in Visakhapatnam district. The bids were recently invited to develop the project on a turnkey basis.
The Greater Chennai Corporation has decided to install solar panels on 662 of its buildings under Smart City Program.
Vikram Solar, one of India’s leading module manufacturer and a prominent rooftop solar & EPC solutions provider has successfully installed a 100 kW grid tied Rooftop Solar PV system for Parijat Industries Pvt Ltd in Ambala, Haryana.
NTPC Ltd has issued a tender for a 20 MW floating solar project at the reservoir of the NTPC Auraiya gas power plant in Uttar Pradesh. The CPSE has already issued a 70 MW floating solar power project at the Rajiv Gandhi combined-cycle gas turbine plant in Kayamkulam in Kerala.
The Government of Uttar Pradesh has proposed Bundelkhand green energy corridor that is expected to generate 4,000 megawatt (MW) solar power. The state government is seeking Rs 5,500 crore of private-sector investment for the project.
INTERNATIONAL SOLAR ALLIANCE (ISA)
The International Solar Alliance (ISA) became first international intergovernmental organization headquartered in India on 6th December, 2017. ISA is part of India’s vision to provide clean and affordable energy to all. So far 71 countries have signed the Framework Agreement of the ISA. Out of these, 48 countries have ratified the same.
India has now become a world leader in renewable energy mainly the solar energy segment. The country is likely to attract increased investments towards the clean energy installation. Renewable energy installations are growing rapidly and the demand for coal based power plants are on the decline. The share of renewable energy in the overall power generation mix has increased from 5.6 per cent in FY2015 to 75 per cent in FY2018. The rating agency, ICRA has maintained a year-end stable outlook for the domestic renewable energy sector. ICRA Group Head - Corporate Ratings Sabyasachi Majumdar expects the share of RE to touch 10 per cent by FY2020. The imposition of import duty on solar cells and modules, have affected the investor sentiment to some extent. As India focuses on the use of Made in India solar cells and modules, this also promises the windfall of investment opportunities in the solar manufacturing. With the right kind of policies and incentives, the solar energy sector is likely to go a long way in establishing the supremacy of the country in this segment.