India plans for 20 GW of Solar says World Bank

by Joshua S Hill.

India intends to ramp up its solar power capacity to 20GW by 2022.
India intends to ramp up its solar power capacity to 20GW by 2020, says the World Bank.

India’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, launched in 2010, is “well-poised to make India a global leader in the development of solar power,” says the World Bank. Aiming to install 20 GW of solar power by the year 2020, India is already well on her way, having grown from an installed solar capacity of only 30 MW in 2010 to 2,000 MW in 2013.

Jawaharlal Nehru Solar Mission stages graphic
Stages graphic explains projected solar capacities and costs of India’s Jawaharlal Nehru Solar Mission.

A new report released by the World Bank –  Paving the Way for a Transformational Future: Lessons from JNNSM Phase 1 (PDF) — notes that solar power can reduce India’s dependence on foreign fuel imports, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to the country’s energy security — all facts that are well known, and not restricted to India alone.

“In a short span of three years, India has made impressive strides in developing its abundant solar power potential,” said Onno Ruhl, World Bank country director in India. ”With more than 300 million people without access to energy and industry citing energy shortage as key growth barrier in India, solar power has the potential to help the country address the shortage of power for economic growth.”

“However, while India is clearly emerging as a global leader in the area of solar power, to achieve its target of adding 20,000 MW of solar capacity by 2022, it needs to address the key barriers and constraints that could come in the way of scaling up the solar program.”

Already Indian solar has seen costs reduced to amongst the lowest in the world, thanks in part to two specific aspects which have minimised tariffs – bundling of solar power with unallocated thermal generation and adoption of reverse auctioning.

According to the World Bank:

Such bundling of solar power with cheaper conventional power helped reduce solar power tariffs for distribution utilities. The reverse bidding mechanism enabled qualified bidders to benefit from declining global prices for solar components, thereby reducing the purchase price of both solar PV and Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) for the utilities.

The authors of the report identified several key observations of the first phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM):

IndiaJNNSM

After evaluating the key objectives of the JNNSM, the authors of the report found the following issues “which could prevent the program from reaching, and possibly exceeding, the target of 20 GW of grid-connected solar capacity in the country by 2022″:

  • Lack of adequate participation of Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs) in solar financing
  • Bottlenecks in the enabling environment
  • Payment security for future projects
  • Unintended technology outcomes over Phase I
  • Beleaguered local solar manufacturing environment
  • Adequacy of the current approach to developing solar thermal projects
  • Enforceability of RPOs and concerns around solar Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)

Subsequently, the World Bank identified the following issues as requiring closer attention:

1. Increase access to funds from commercial banks and attract private financing

Under Phase I of the program, scheduled commercial banks mostly shied away from lending for solar projects while export credit agencies, multilateral financial institutions, and some nonbanking financial institutions took up most of the financing. However, given that most infrastructure lending in India has been led by commercial banks, the solar program too will need their active participation to scale up to the levels envisaged.

2. Develop shared infrastructure facilities such as solar parks

The provision of publicly developed infrastructure frees private providers to focus on solar power development, increases efficiency, and lowers costs.   Gujarat, for example, was the first state to declare a solar policy (2009) and today, is at the forefront of solar power generation in India. Its first solar park, developed on waste land in Charanka (Patan district), has the largest solar capacity in Asia. The park provides developers with already developed land along with critical infrastructure, including facilities for power evacuation and transmission, roads and water, thereby ensuring the rapid development of solar projects.

3. Use India’s comparative advantage to develop a niche in the manufacturing value chain

India’s solar PV manufacturing capacity is limited and does not straddle the higher technological echelons of the industry. This is because India’s manufacturers lack the raw materials, do not have access to low-cost financing, and face underdeveloped supply chains. In CSP, where local manufacturing is more complex, India has not been able to manufacture some critical components. Either technology suppliers are limited and their products patented or the lack of natural resources poses an impediment. India should therefore seek to define and develop its manufacturing capabilities in specific parts of the value chain where it enjoys a comparative advantage and can emerge as a globally competitive producer.

An earlier ESMAP-World Bank study, Development of Local Supply Chain: A Critical Link for Concentrated Solar Power in India has identified the potential for reducing the costs of CSP components in India through local domestic manufacturing.

This article, World Bank Foresees Potential For 20 GW Indian Solar Future, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

India To Set Up Ultra Mega Solar Power Plant with 4,000 MW Capacity

by Mridul Chadha – Special to JBS News

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solar panels
Solar Panels Credit: Wayne National Forest | CC BY 2.0

The Indian government, in partnership with state-owned companies, is planning to set up the largest solar power plant in the world. The planned power project will have an installed capacity of 4,000 MW and will be located in the western state of Rajasthan.

The solar power project will be set up by a joint venture of five government-owned companies – BHEL, Powergrid Corporation, Solar Energy Corporation of India, Hindustan Salts, and Rajasthan Electronics & Instruments Limited. The first phase of the project will comprise of 1,000 MW and is expected to be commissioned in 2016. At 1,000 MW capacity the project will be about 10 times the largest solar power project currently under construction in India.

The capacity of 4,000 MW is very significant in the Indian context. Earlier this year a private utility, Tata Power, commissioned the first coal-fired Ultra Mega Power Plant (UMPP) of installed capacity 4,000 MW. Another three such projects of capacity 3,960 MW each are at various stages of construction.

Interestingly, all these projects are facing critical problems of fuel availability and, as a result, financial viability. These four UMPPs have been awarded to two companies – Tata Power and Reliance Power. These companies have filed petitions with the concerned authorities to allow them to increase the tariff of the electricity sold as they are struggling to access low-cost coal.

While the tariff at which the coal-fired UMPPs are expected to sell the electricity is considerably lower than the lowest tariff being offered by solar photovoltaic (PV) power project developers, the conventional power plants have several disadvantages apart from being environmentally unsustainable.

These power plants are almost completely dependent on imported fuel. Since these power plants have been built with a goal to generate electricity at a lower carbon intensity than other coal-based power plants, they cannot use Indian coal which have lower carbon content compared to imported coal.

Such large-scale renewable energy projects are essential for India’s long-term energy plans. Millions of people still lack access to electricity and India does not have much leeway in terms of greenhouse gas emissions as it is one of the largest emitters in the world.

Read other interesting news related to India’s solar power sector

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This article, India To Set Up Ultra Mega Solar Power Plant Of 4,000 MW Capacity, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Mridul Chadha Mridul Chadha currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.

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