Prices of solar energy down by 40%: Piyush Goyal

Power minister Piyush Goyal said that by consistent efforts made by the government the prices of solar energy have come down by 40% in just 18 months.


Power minister Piyush Goyal said that by consistent efforts made by the government the prices of solar energy have come down by 40% in just 18 months.

He was speaking at the distinguished gathering of Industry stalwarts from Energy sector at a media event, ‘Energy Conclave, 2016 – Securing India’s Green Future’, organized here.

The Minister noted that India has its own developmental imperatives in the near future, hence it cannot shun the use of fossil fuels completely from its energy basket. It is important to strike a balance between the conventional & renewable sources of energy and rapid societal development & environmental concerns, he added.

Goyal expressed happiness to see renewable energy taking centre stage in discussions on power sector recently. He noted that it is of prime importance to achieve the goal of ‘One Nation, One Grid, One Price’ at the earliest and create a robust transmission grid network where affordable power is seamlessly available to the common man throughout the Nation, at one price.

The minister pointed out that the Government, after taking charge, has made the solar power target five times to 100 GW by 2022. Moreover, concentrating on other sources of renewable energy, this year has been dedicated to hydro and wind energy and talks with international gas suppliers are on, he added.



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The Cost of Solar Power Has Fallen 25% in Only 5 Months

The cost of building solar power has plummeted 25% in five months, according to low construction bids on solar projects in China ($0.46/W for 500 MW of solar power) and Dubai ($0.023/kWh for 1.2 GW of solar power).

Several factors have driven these relatively inexpensive bids. In China, solar power is incentivized and in Abu Dhabi, solar panels produce more power than usual because the city enjoys some of the best sunlight exposure in the world.

Credits: NINA

Decreasing hardware prices have fueled the drastic drop: solar panel costs, for instance, have declined since the first quarter of this year.

Other areas have shown similar price falls. In Nevada, a 100MW solar project would deliver electricity at $0.04/kWh. Chile and India are also experiencing similar efficiency.

Technology for developing renewable sources of energy gets better through time. And while it does, the cost of an energy efficient world becomes more and more affordable.


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Time To Side With Solar Energy

Prices of solar energy have fallen such that it is challenging coal to be a more viable energy source.

According to a report by the consulting agency KPMG, the solar prices have come down by 15%.

It is important to note that not long ago, solar energy was considered to be expensive and not investment-friendly. It has taken India a long time to realise that going forward, solar energy is going to be of utmost importance if it were to realise the goals of renewable energy.

Recently, Union Energy Minister Piyush Goyal stated that the Central government will provide Rs 1,800 crore to IIT-Mumbai for supporting the Solar Urja Lamp (Soul) programme.

The prices of solar energy have fallen to an extent that it is now challenging coal to be a much more viable source of energy. If solar remains cheaper than coal, India should actually consider making the former as the prime source of energy generation. This would further India’s commitment towards renewable source of energy generation and will prove to be a reliable source for 250 million people who have no access to electricity.

The World Bank recently approved funding worth $1 billion for power projects in India. In order to provide the funding, the World Bank has tied up with the State Bank of India. This comes following the promise made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of making power available to all citizens.

This is the biggest solar aid ever to be lent to any country. The main purpose of the funding is to start rooftop solar projects which will make power accessible even in the most remote villages.

The capacity targeted thro-ugh this rooftop project is 400 megawatts (MW). The World Bank has also signed an agreement with the International Solar Alliance (ISA). The alliance was spearheaded by India and France during the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in 2015. The aim of the alliance was to mobilise investment in order to set up infrastructure for solar energy generation.

The target is to channelise around $1 trillion-worth of investment by 2030. In the 2015-16 budget, a sum of Rs 2,700 crore (between $400 and $500 million) was allocated for energy generation through solar energy. As of May 2016, solar energy capacity in India was 7,568 MW and the target set for 2022 is 100 gigawatts (GW), that is 1,00,000 MW.

The main aim of the Paris Agreement is to restrict the global increase in the temperature to below 2 degree Celsius. This deal is a result of consistent effort by the international community to have an international agreement on climate change. Article 2 of the Paris Agreement clearly states that it aims at “making global finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse-gas emissions and climate resilient development.”

According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), in the last three years, the renewable energy sector has received over $14 billion worth of investment. Of this, the solar energy sector has got around $4.5 billion.

Coal-based power

Even after signing the Paris Agreement, India has aimed to double the energy production from coal by 2020. As against this, recently, Maharashtra showed a positive sign towards  clean energy as it turned to solar power in order to provide energy to farmers at subsidised rates. Goyal has been an advocate of supporting clean energy, provided it is funded by the developed countries.

India’s main aim has been to ensure that there is a balance between guaranteeing efficient clean energy generation as well as development goals. On the basis of current resources, it is ambitious.

A major part of investment has been allocated through the Budget. The 2016 Budget approved generation of around 14 GW of solar energy. India has pledged that it will be generating around 40% of its energy through renewable sources by 2030.

In 2010, the government launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. The objective of the Mission had been to make India a leader among the international community in the field of solar energy.

The Mission had set up a target of 20 GW of solar power by 2022. This particular target was later increased to 100 GW in the 2015 Union Budget. One of the most important things to keep in mind while setting targets is that in 2014, the world’s installed solar energy capacity was 181 GW.

According to the World Health Organisation, 22 of the 50 urban areas with worst ambient air pollution are in India. Balancing the growth as well as climate change commitments is a priority. The solar energy generation projects are bound to contribute to new employment opportunities and lead India’s march towards its globally set targets.

In 2005, the government-funded generation was about 6 MW. India is making big strides towards renewable energy generation and as a result, a lot of villages will be able to use electricity for the first time.

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Solar energy is probably the oldest and most reliable source of energy on earth, but still, we fail to acknowledge its importance. While businesses and individuals pay huge money to the government in the form of electricity bills month after month, they forget that solar doesn’t need to be created in powerhouses; thus it can fulfill their requirements at much less cost.

If they switch to solar today, they can reduce their monthly electricity expenses by more than 90%. However, it’s easier said than done. Due to lack of awareness and inability to make the first move, they keep delaying their plans with regard to solar energy. It’s the same story with almost everyone.

That’s the reason Adler Group has decided to take the responsibility to spread the word about solar energy and help people and businesses switch to solar in a hassle-free manner. Should you wish to switch from traditional energy sources to solar, all you need to do is call our helpline number and raise your concern to the customer representative. We’ll send a team of professionals to your factory or residence where you want to install a solar panel. The team will inspect the location, do a free cost-benefit analysis (i.e. how much can you save on monthly basis by switching to solar) and guide you through the rest of the procedure. It’s as simple as that.

We’ve helped many businesses and individuals already and now plan to help you. Don’t wait for the perfect moment. Makeup your mind now. Call us for more information.

Asia's largest solar power station, the Gujarat Solar Park, in Gujarat, India

How Popular Is Home Solar Energy?

More than one million homes now have solar panels, helped by government subsidies and clean energy policies. Falling equipment prices and competition among installers have driven the average price of a home solar system down 10.6% over the past year to $3.21 per watt, or $16,050 for a five-kilowatt solar array. A federal renewable-energy tax credit can shave another 30% off the total cost.

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Solar Power to Stay Cool – gurgaon

The sun is a great source of energy and this is further confirmed by studying the efficiencies of solar power generation. As obvious as it may seem — the longer the sun’s exposure, more is the energy created that can be directly connected to power loads or stored in batteries for later use.
In my office building, we generate 268kW of electricity every month and this is used to power the air handling units of the air conditioning plant that cool the building. In homes, refrigerators can be run on solar energy. So in a way, the harder the sun shines, the more energy we gain to stay cool!

The recorded numbers in the summer months (April-June) is between 338-348kW. The almost 25-30% increase over the average monthly solar power generation proves that an investment in even a small scale renewable energy unit at a home or private office is worth it — government mandate or not!
A rooftop photovoltaic system offering both shade and electricity Express
Solar energy can power street-lights and other lamps. They are especially useful in remote areas where grid power is not available in most places. Such lights use the energy stored in batteries, which get re-charged by sunlight during the day. Solar lights do not require extensive cabling and are especially good for use in gardens and for soft lighting. While considering a retrofit of solar cells on rooftops, the roof slope and orientation have to be studied. Solar energy output depends on the latitude of the location and availability of sunlight.
Flat roofs allow panels to be installed at the optimum inclination and orientation to the sun. The photovoltaic (PV) system as it is called includes an unit that draws from the electric grid to continuously make up for any shortfall in the solar power generation to run the electric loads hooked to the circuit.

The initial cost of the system is high if batteries are included and the engineering becomes a bit more complex. It demands greater attention during maintenance too. However technologies are fast catching up to improve efficiencies and the cost of generation and storage are coming down with each passing year.


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The PV has to be routinely wiped so the surfaces are clean of dust and grime. This is to ensure unhindered incidence of sunlight on them to maximise power output. An efficient, well-planned and well-maintained system has advantages that very easily outweigh the constraints of maintenance and operation…after all; all great things are high maintenance!

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The fastest-growing solar market


How has the investment environment changed for the solar energy sector in India in the past five years?
Read more from our special coverage on “SOLAR”
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The new government, when it came to power, scaled up renewable energy targets, and ever since, there have been enabling regulations. One was for demand creation and the other was to improve the quality of the off-take of power through power purchase agreements (PPAs), which is not very bankable, given the financial status of the discoms. The challenges, however, are to provide infrastructure for these targets, bring in capital and mitigate risks around land issues. For that, the central government has done its part by bringing in National Thermal Power Corporation and Solar Energy Corporation of India to be the procurers. The solar park policy created a mechanism to give funds to those states which wanted to buy land and create infrastructure for the mega solar parks. The solar parks that have come for auction till now have been over-subscribed in terms of capacity and fairly significant equity investment.

Which gaps do you think need to be filled?

The Renewable Purchase Obligation would worry anyone. Though the Centre has put penal provisions, the states have not enforced it. Procurement would come with falling tariff and closing of the demand-supply gap. States have to implement the central regulations. Also, the cost of capital remains high in India. Local debt rates are 11-11.25 per cent, whereas in matured markets, infrastructure projects avail long-term debt at two-three per cent.

how is India placed?

Outside the US and China, India is the fastest growing market. In terms of growth rate, India is better than China, which is growing but is finding it difficult to get foreign capital.

Our results in this market and the ability to command a leadership position would enable us to continue investment in India. In terms of market share, we had 16.5-17 per cent by the end of 2015, making us the leader in India. In that mix, our own development was five per cent and 95 per cent of our capacity are modules sold to others. Nearly 900 Mw in the total installed capacity of 5,000 Mw, is supplied by us. Our technology has also improved — energy generation efficiency has improved to 16.7 per cent from 11 per cent in 2011

How has the Indian solar market matured in terms of players?

There are two kinds of players in the Indian market. Developers like us, r, essentially breaking the initial risk capital to create an asset. Once they create an asset, the companies would like to turn these to long-term assets, recycle their money and keep bidding for more assets. Their value lies in risk mitigation of initial development constrictions and finance.

The other class of players are long-term asset owners — ideally, a utility which is willing to invest a lot of money at a predictable but low rate of return.

But, as the government is mitigating a lot of risk, we are witnessing long-term asset owners coming and building the projects. Many foreign utilities are coming in to take up capacity addition. This will lower cost of energy and create more demand.

Panel prices have been going down for over a year now. What are its impact on the Indian market and your operations?

Since 2014, we have seen a decline of five per cent in panel prices. Currently, the average market price of a panel is nearly 46 cents a unit. In 2012 it was more than $1 a unit. Most of this decline happened because of excess capacity in China where we are seeing consolidation and bankruptcies in major Chinese firms. All the Chinese players are our competitors in India.

In terms of competition, most Indian companies are targeting the domestic content requirement (DCR) segment, where the Indian government has reserved a certain capacity. We don’t play in this segment. Both, we and the Chinese players are at par in prices, considering the level of quality and efficiency. On levellised costs of energy basis, we are better than the Chinese. I don’t know what Indian panel costs are since we do not follow the segment. But, if you follow tariffs under DCR, the bids are slightly higher.

DCR is still being contested in World Trade Organization. Your comment?

In 2012, the government said they will reserve capacity for domestic firms but they excluded thin-films so we were not affected by that. The percentage of the National Solar Mission against the country’s total solar program was relatively small at 150 Mw and 350 Mw. But, states such as Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh did more and that’s when the WTO dispute happened. Subsequently, the government changed its stand. The restrictions are where the government is buying power and owning the assets. So, this is different from the DCR in 2012. I am not privy to discussions in WTO. As a policy, our stand is that we oppose any kind of market restrictions. We want the market to be accessible to all technologies. We as a company would continue to advocate against any kind of restrictive market access. Having said that, we think the Indian market is lot more open than any other solar market globally.


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Save big by using solar energy

The Delhi government has saved nearly Rs. 6 lakh per month on its electricity bills since the Delhi Secretariat started using solar power in November.

Four months ago, the Delhi Secretariat or the Players’ Building started drawing power to the tune of 1 MW from the city’s first ground-based solar power plant at Indraprastha Power Station.

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“During peak time the solar system feeds the building with over 33 per cent of its power requirement. We expect another 1 MW of supply by next month, which will further increase our savings to about Rs. 18-20 lakh,” said a government official.

The total power requirement of the secretariat is three MW and the solar power plant at Indraprastha is also being built with the same capacity. “Two MW will be completed by April. Once the plant is fully operational Players’ Building will become the first State secretariat in the country to run completely on solar energy,” said the official.

The government has partnered with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to set up the plant on a vacant plot in the power station. The plant utilises latest technology including a tracker mechanism which tracks the movement of the sun for maximum output.



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Solar Power Parks in India

 As many as 33 solar parks will be set up across the country as part of an effort to reduce the production cost of solar power, Power Minister Piyush Goyal said. Government has taken a number of steps to reduce the production cost of solar power in the country, including fiscal and financial incentives in the form of accelerated depreciation, concessional customs and excise duties, preferential tariffs and generation based incentives, he said in Lok Sabha during Question Hour.

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“33 solar parks are sanctioned in various parts of the country to achieve cost reduction of solar power generation through economies of scale and combined power evacuation facility,” he said, adding incentives are being provided to improve viability of solar power generations units.

Other incentives include procurement of solar power by financially strong intermediaries like NTPC, long term vision and stable policy framework so that investors can plan better investment.

“Transparent E-reverse auction for procurement of solar power has already resulted in a price point of Rs 4.34 Kwh, almost at grid parity with the conventional sources of electricity,” he said.


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