Last week, the Andhra Pradesh government announced that it will buy power from rooftop PV systems installed on residential and commercial buildings in the state at a fixed tariff of INR 3.5/kWh (refer).
- Capital subsidies of 30% is offered by the MNRE and 20% is offered by the Andhra Pradesh state government
- Both residential and commercial consumers will require further subsidies for solar to be financially viable
- Providing reliable information on rooftop potential and easily accessible, low-cost financing as well as waiving state level taxes for solar PV systems are steps that can be taken by the government to increase viability
The Indian electricity system is in dire need of ‘fixing’ – or, perhaps, of fundamental, paradigmatic reconfiguration? But how can complex systems be changed? This blog piece is based on a very interesting conversation with my friend and a systems aficionado, Anna da Costa, her blog piece and reading suggestion.
- In changing systems, too much time is spent on ‘fixing’ and too little on re-imagining
- In electricity, India should embrace distributed models rather than the traditional, centralized one of large power plants and transmission grids
- This would make the electricity system less political, less corrupt, greener and allow the local population to become value creators in addition to consumers
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has decided to defer the penalties that are to be levied on delayed solar thermal (CSP) projects. 470 MW were allocated under phase one of the National Solar Mission (NSM) in December 2010 and were to be commissioned in May 2013. However, none of the projects are expected to meet this deadline.
- No project is expected to reach completion before at least June 2013
- Many common and genuine reasons caused the delays, the most important of which was incorrect solar resource assessments
- A shift in the short-term CSP strategy can be considered towards its hybridization with other technologies. CSP should also be promoted to provide process heat solutions to factories with high energy and heat demand
Solar capacity addition in India has so far been centered on large, grid connected, ground-mounted PV plants. The lack of space for such power plants in a highly urbanized and congested city like Delhi is a challenge for solar energy. But, this is true only if solar deployment is restricted to large, ground mounted power plants. The potential to install rooftop solar PV in a city like Delhi can be tremendous.
- Delhi’s total land area is 1,483 square kilometers
- 700 square kilometers of Delhi’s total area is built-up, which could theoretically give a potential of 58 GW of rooftop solar
- Not every inch of Delhi’s rooftop space is viable for solar, scaling down the potential drastically, but none the less being worth a couple of gigawatts
The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has announced the second round of biddings for the implementation of large scale, grid connected rooftop PV systems ranging from 100 kWp to 500 kWp for a total allocation of 11.1 MW.
- A developer can apply for multiple projects for a minimum allocation of 250kWp and a maximum of 2 MWp
- No Feed-in-Tariff is being offered. Instead, the bidder will quote a cost in INR/Wp terms based on which SECI will provide a capital subsidy of 30%
- Sale of power and the negotiation of the tariff is the developer’s responsibility
The south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh had carried out a bidding process for an allocation of 1,000 MW earlier this year. The state followed a L1 (lowest bid) process, where developers were required to meet the lowest tariff being offered by any other developer for a given sub-station.
- The policy’s bidding process accounted for different project sizes, land costs and irradiation levels and was considered to be a progressive variation of the L1 process
- In a sudden change of process, after the bidding process was complete, the state announced that it could only offer a tariff of INR 6.49/kWh
- This policy instability and sudden change in process is expected to severely impact the outlook on new capacity addition as well as the investor confidence in the state
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has today announced draft guidelines (refer) for setting up of 750 MW solar PV capacity under Phase 2, Batch 1 of the National Solar Mission (NSM).
- Viability Gap Funding will be provided with an upper limit of 30% of the project cost for a maximum capacity of 100 MW
- The VGF amount will be handed over in three installments, and the SECI can claim assets equal to the VGF amount if the plant remains inactive or if any assets are sold
- A mechanism is needed to ensure that there is a match between states willing to buy power at the pre-determined prices and developers’ preference of location for the projects
The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd. (MSEDCL) released a commercial circular no. 190 last month (dated March 14 2013), clarifying the matter of Cross Subsidy Surcharge (CSS) for Open Access (OA) consumers. Under this circular, all generators including renewable energy generators who opt for open access will have to pay MSEDCL the CSS.
- Earlier, open access consumers that procure renewable energy had to pay only 25% of the applicable charges. This concession has now been removed
- Project developers are obliged to go via the open access route in order to register for the REC mechanism
- This hike in CSS will increase charges payable to the distribution licensee and introduce uncertainty in changes of CSS over the lifetime of the project
Last week in our April 2013 edition of the India Solar Compass we had mentioned that a number of projects under the Batch II, Phase I of the NSM had not been commissioned within the deadline of February 26th 2013. Since then, we have had a chance to interact with some company representatives and market stakeholders and would like to clarify that a few of these project have in fact been commissioned within the deadline.
- Pokaran Solaire Energy, Sai Mathili Power Co and NVR Infra & Services were also commissioned before the February 26th deadline
- For this update on Batch II, Phase I of the NSM, the list ‘Commissioning Status of Solar PV Projects under Batch-II, Phase-I of JNNSM’ was reffered to, published by the MNRE on its website on February 28th 2013
- The above projects were excluded from the list, but were incorporated in a revised list released on March 26th without any information on commissioning dates
We regularly publish reports on the Indian solar market. These are read by a majority of national and international market stakeholders: on average by 10,000 people, including most industry leaders. We realize and appreciate that our views and opinions are taken seriously and influence the market. That only reaffirms our commitment to ground them firmly in facts. Only: facts, are not always clear. This can lead to inaccuracies or errors in our writing – such as in our current INDIA SOLAR COMPASS (April 2013 Edition). We strive to always improve our coverage and analysis and get to the bottom of key market developments. In this endeavor, we invite all market participants to be in active touch and share information with us.
- In a young, dynamic market, such as the Indian solar market, getting facts right is of particular importance – but also particularly challenging. A good case in point is project commissioning deadlines.
- We strive to provide independent, analytical, transparent, business-driven and fair opinions to the market. This can be contrarian. We believe that asking questions and challenging assumptions helps the market grow.
- We interact with all market participants and constantly receive information from the market. Some of which is off-the-record, which we don’t make public. Some is on record, wherein companies help us clarify certain topics.