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Solar : Cheap and Best Option to Generate Energy

Interview with Pashupathy Gopalan, who is the head of Indian operations and President-Asia Pacific of SunEdison.

 

Where is the Indian solar market heading?

 

Ever since the new government came into power, particularly in the last two months, there have been tremendous amount of preparatory work done to make solar a significant part of country’s energy needs. Indian power minister has an ambitious vision of building 100 GW of solar power by 2020 and that vision is exactly the same as what China has for solar industry by 2020. In solar, may be, we are 10 years behind China, but no country that has the same capacity, availability of labour and qualified workforce and a huge domestic market. India can only be perhaps second to China. We have to give him the credit for being so courageous and bold. So, not just talks, the new government at the Centre is doing some real work. International Energy Agency has also said that by 2050 the Number One source of electricity in the world will be solar.

 

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Are all these solar capacity targets feasible?

Very much feasible. In fact, if there is one source of energy that can actually make an appreciable impact in a very short time frame, it is solar. Solar can really make a significant dent in India’s energy mix. What you require to install large scale of solar is land and evacuation infrastructure. That’s it. Technology is there. Other great thing is development of solar projects can be done in a matter of couple of months. Unlike nuclear, which takes 10 years, or thermal projects, which takes a few years, or even wind, which takes about two years and more, solar can be developed very quickly. It can also be constructed extremely quickly. So, you can envision 500 mw projects that can be done in six months’ time. So, planning large capacities in solar is very much feasible.

 

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How should India drive its solar transformation for both economic and social benefits?

In my view, solar is going to become one of the lowest-cost forms of generating electricity, even cheaper than fossil fuel. In India, if you analyse the bids for power plants with imported coal, they are all in the range of Rs.5.50 to Rs.7/kWh. It is not cheaper than that. And, usually the thermal plants powered by imported coal have all kinds of relief for increase in price of coal and forex. Basically, there is some sort of indexation of international coal prices. So, the price can go up. The most recent solar bids that have come in Karnataka are all in the range of Rs.6.50-7/kWh. So, solar is already in the ballpark of coal prices. Also, coal is polluting, takes many years to develop. Environment clearances are challenging. Fuel linkage is an issue, and domestic coal has been having all sorts of problems over the last few months. Imported coal has the price variability. But, solar is clean. It can be developed in few months, and constructed in 6-12 months, no issue of fuel linkages, generates electricity during the day time, and no seasonality. So, when we compare all sources of energy – nuclear, wind, gas and coal- solar clearly is emerging as a darling. Solar costs have also come down. Renewable sources have to play a big role in energy generation, and in that renewable space, solar is clearly emerging as a winner. This may be the year in India for the first time that solar may surpass wind in annual capacity addition.

 

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What kind of an indigenisation plan is required to develop a strong domestic manufacturing?

I think it is a golden opportunity for India to create an industry in early days of that industry. It is really nice and welcoming to see the Prime Minister focusing on Make in India strategy. But fundamental idea should be to focus on the industries that can win, export and be competitive globally. If you look at the solar value chain, over 90 per cent of solar in the world is crystalline silicon, and thousands of companies do crystalline silicon. So, it is very hard for thin-film segment to compete with crystalline silicon as there is only handful of companies. You have the innovation happening through a handful of companies versus thousands of companies where engineers are going to work every day and are making progress. If India decides to scale in solar, it has to think about supporting the crystalline value chain. If you look at this value chain, it is just the module and cell that have been discussed for domestic content in India. But they are the much simpler parts of the value chain. A very little value is added domestically. It is really a soldering operation and the module making is very, very simple. India needs to think what can be the strategic focus area in the value chain. Polysilicon is the crude oil refining equivalent, and that needs to be done domestically. Once that is done, all the others will surround the ecosystem. Supply chain industry can easily come because it requires only a little investment. Today, there is probably 250,000 metric tonnes of polysilicon manufactured in the world. By 2020, it will double, but with new technology. Polysilicon takes billions of dollars of investments. It won’t happen unless the government works out a strategy with various polysilicon manufacturers.

 

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How has been Sun Edison’s growth curve in India?

When we look back, we were a company that has received a lot of support from parent. Our global CEO Ahmed Chatila has been passionate about India and generally emerging markets. He always felt that solar will be big in developing countries because so much energy infrastructure is going to be required, and sooner or later, the costs are going to be at parity. As far as we are concerned, across several segments there is parity and solar can compete effectively today not in future. So, grid parity is achieved. With that background and vision, he supported us a lot, and we have been able to accomplish reasonably well in our first part of the journey in India. Now we have a new and vibrant India. The promises are big and expectations are even higher because things seem to be looking up significantly. We have begun our journey, but it is still a long way go to make any meaningful impact. We are just starting to scratch the surface when it comes to making an impact in India’s energy mix. We have signed a MoU with the Rajasthan government for developing 5000 MW over the next five years. We have won 150 MW projects in Karnataka. We are also awaiting results in few other states. When we do our job, we will bring capital also. Our goal is to be a participant in a meaningful way.

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Solar mission is not only about large power plants, but also about smaller distributed generation. What are the opportunities and challenges in this segment?

In distributed generation, there are five segments. First, commercial roof-top is the leading segment and that is taking off as parity has been achieved in certain states like Tamil Nadu & Maharashtra. Solar Energy Corporation of India is doing a great job of promoting this. Second is industrial segment. It has large roof-tops that make sense. But industrial tariff is lower. So, it is more challenging to make economics work now. Third is the residential segment that is very impressive. It will grow like what happened in countries like Japan, the U.S., and Australia. But the challenge is the residential electricity, which is subsidised a bit already and is lower when compared to commercial and industrial. So, may be a couple of years from now, it can show good progress. In the mean time, the leading adopters will do off-grid residentials in conjunction with battery or inverter. Fourth segment is the irrigation pumping segment. In my view, it is one of the most fascinating and important segment and government should support it as it will transform India. If the government takes it seriously, it can convert the 30 million irrigation pumps into solar-powered ones. Thirty million pumps of 5 kw or 5HP will be 150 GW of power generation from solar. It is possible and can transform the lives of farmers. Some state governments are supporting this. Fifth is the solar micro-grids. This will also have transformation effect, and the government is focusing on it. So, when you think of distributed generation, each of these five segments has to be dealt with separately with right policy and framework.    

 

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Source : http://www.thehindu.com/

 

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 Call us for a free presentation. Where we will explain how solar can help you reduce energy costs in your business. Mob: +91 9971170911 ,+91 9910800911 Email : info@adlergroup.in  

New businesses build their private solar plants

 

A woman prays in front of a Compact Fluorescent Lamp powered by solar energy in her house on the outskirts of Ahmedabad

 

Fed up with constant electricity cuts and government-enforced “power holidays”, Indian IT firm ValueLabs has turned to the sun beaming down on its head office for help.

In July, it finished building a 13 megawatt solar plant – enough to power 6,000 homes – to keep the lights on and computers humming for more than 3,000 employees at its base in Hyderabad.

It is even selling surplus electricity back to the grid.

“We plan to use the entire quantum of power generated from these plants in the coming years for our existing and upcoming campus,” said Krishna Reddy, a senior ValueLabs executive.

Factories and businesses have installed over 30 MW of rooftop solar panels in the last year, data compiled by New Delhi-based consultancy Bridge To India shows. That is a small amount compared with India’s solar capacity of 2,700 MW, but demand may accelerate under Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has made renewable energy a priority.

Bridge to India forecasts compound annual growth will hit more than 60 percent in the next five years, as falling panel prices make installations more alluring.

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In a sign that even big business is warming up to alternative energy sources, India’s second-largest IT exporter Infosys is building a 50 MW solar plant in Karnataka to meet 30 percent of the company’s power needs.

Bridge To India estimates that commercial rooftop and smaller utility plants have the potential to provide up to 83,000 MW of solar energy, more than half of India’s potential solar capacity out to 2024.

“With the new government coming in, we see a clear intent to further increase allocation of solar in the energy mix,” said Sujoy Ghosh, India head of U.S.-based First Solar (FSLR.O).

Along with SunEdison (SUNE.N), First Solar is among foreign panel suppliers expecting to profit from rising demand in India.

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The new government is hoping to ramp up renewable energy, and wean the country off of a dependence on coal and oil and fulfil Modi’s election pledge of bringing power to all.

While India’s overall installed capacity has risen 20 percent in the past three years and peak-hour shortfalls have eased, not enough power reaches end-users due to rickety transmission lines, and when it does, supply is often fickle.

Many southern states, where ValueLabs and Infosys are based, enforce power cuts to keep a check on demand. Across the country, businesses are forced to buy costly back-up generators in case of outages.

States in the arid north and west are building big solar plants at the fastest pace, though smaller commercial projects are cropping up across India, where nearly all states enjoy year-round sunshine, analysts say.

COST HURDLES

But, as for many in growth economies looking for ways to cut back on oil imports, costs are high on the whole and even early adopters say solar is only part of the answer.

ValueLabs spent 1 billion rupees ($16.3 million), which it expects to make back in eight years. It is keeping its back-up generators.

The Kanpur-based Indian Institute of Technology is installing rooftop solar panels. Yet some 70 percent of its energy will still come from conventional sources.

Despite Modi’s plans to target up to 100,000 MW of solar generation by 2022, far more than an existing 20,000 MW target, India remains heavily reliant on conventional thermal energy.

Today, solar power generation accounts for about 1 percent of installed energy capacity and a fraction of the 26,000 MW China can produce.

For now, individual companies say it is falling panel prices and government subsidies that have made solar more appealing.

Infosys says its own solar-generated power will cost it less than the 6.15 rupees per unit it pays for electricity from the grid, even after factoring in depreciation expenses. It did not say how much lower the costs were.

“The economics of doing this has improved. If you can get solar at a reasonable efficiency level…then it makes sense to have it as a main power source and have the grid as a backup,” said Kalpana Jain, a senior director at Deloitte India.

More broadly, securing stable demand is also not easy – a pitfall illustrated in China’s huge solar market, where insufficient subsidies and poor infrastructure mean demand has not kept pace with supply.

India’s electricity distribution companies, which are ordered by politicians to keep prices low, have little incentive to buy renewable energy – roughly 15 percent pricier than thermal – because they cannot pass this on to consumers.

But for companies, choosing solar is still better than the alternative.

“We want to ensure we are free from power disruptions in the future,” said ValueLabs’ Reddy.

Adler Group are the tried and tested experts in Solar energy solutions. Mob: +91 9971170911 ,+91 9910800911
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Source : http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/11/03/india-solar-idINKBN0IN22420141103

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Benefits of Solar Energy

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Sun is the ultimate source of energy on earth and life on Earth is due to the power (energy) provided by the Sun. Scientists have developed the technology to directly convert the Solar Energy into Electricity with the help of photovoltaic cells. The ‘Solar Energy’ refers to the power generated from the Sun in the day time.
In the day time photovoltaic cells can be used to generate the electricity and energy can be stored in the battery for use in the nigh. The energy generated from the photovoltaic cells can be use at the day time also. The energy generated by the Solar Cells are free energy and it is also Renewable Energy which is Environmentally-friendly.

 

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Here are the benefits of Solar Energy:

Solar Energy in Abundance – Solar Energy is every where in the day time and it can be used to generate the power in tremendous amount. Solar Energy generation cab be combined with the wind turbines and the traditional fossil fuel based energy system to generate power in abundance.
Home users can use the photovoltaic cells to generate the power and reduce the energy bill.

Renewable Energy – The Solar Energy is renewable energy source and it is environmentally-friendly.
Low Cost – Solar Energy is low cost energy source. Solar energy is the free source of energy and it just requires one time investments in the installation of the solar panels. Battery used by the solar system to store the power is also very durable which makes the Solar power less costly.

Pollution free source of energy – Solar energy does not require the burning of fossil fuels and thus it is pollution free source of energy. There is no adverse effect on the environment. So, Solar power is the best source of pollution free engery.

Save Money for Home users – You can use the Solar Energy at you home and save the power bill.
Save Earth – You save a lot of fossil fuel just by using the Solar Energy at your home. Tones of carbon emission can be controlled if home user starts using the Solar Power at their home. Home solar power can be integrated with the power provided by the power companies to save the fossil fuels thus saving the earth.

Power in remote location – The Solar power is available everywhere so you can use use the solar panels in the remote areas to generate the power. It can be used to run the water wells in the remote locations where there is no supply of electricity. In many locations in the world solar energy is used in the remote locations to generate power.

Maintenance free source of energy – The solar energy is almost maintenance free source of energy and in most of the cases you just have to spend the money on the battery or small equipments. Once installed you can use the Solar Energy to generate the power for years without or very less maintenance.
Infinite source of energy – It is estimated that the worlds oils reserve will only last for 30-40 years, but the Solar Energy is unlimited. Solar energy will last as long as sun is present.

How Solar Power is generated?
There are two ways of generating the solar power:

1. Photovoltaic cells – The photovoltaic cells are capable of generating the power in the sun light. This way both home and commercial electricity is being generated.

2. Concentrating Solar Power Projects – This the preferred way of generating the power on large commercial scale. Here the glasses are used to first concentrate the power to heat the water to convert it to vapor which then runs the turbine. Turbine is connected to the generator to generate the electricity.

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Solar Energy : The Energy Of Future

Climate change is a global issue that requires a comprehensive response. ..Adler Group.. We must minimize political posturing on this issue and listen to the experts, the climate scientists who are warning us of the risky path we are on. The era of coal and fossil fuels is passing and the future will be powered by renewables. ..Adler Group.. Our region needs to gradually transition to clean jobs, and a price on carbon will expedite this move. A revenue neutral fee on carbon would address the carbon emission issue using a proven approach – increasing the cost of a product disincentivizes the public from using this product, as is clearly shown for cigarettes…Adler Group..  The money raised is returned to consumers as rebates, serving to minimize the financial burden of these fees. ..Adler Group.. A recent research by Adler Group Gurgaon noida faridabad dehi shows that this approach creates jobs, adding 2.8 million jobs over 20 years. ..Adler Group.. We need to start now, for the good of present and future generations.

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Solar technology is now poised to play a larger role in the future, thanks to new developments that could result in lower costs and improved efficiency.  More and more architects are recognizing the value of active and passive solar and learning how to effectively incorporate it into building designs. Solar hot water systems can compete economically with conventional systems in some areas…Adler Group..  Perhaps the future is here now. Shell has predicted that 50% of the world’s energy will come from renewable sources by 2040. In recent years manufacturing costs of photovoltaic cells has dropped by 3-5% per year while government subsidies have increased. ..Adler Group.. While to some such facts about solar energy seem trivial, this makes solar energy an ever-more affordable energy source. In the next few years it is expected that millions of households in the world will be using solar energy ..

 

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