Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Indian Renewable Energy Company Welspun Plans $2.5 Billion Investment Over Next Three Years

Welspun Solar Project Madhya Pradesh

Indian renewable energy companies are preparing for long-term investments as the new government gets ready to introduce favorable regulatory initiatives to expand renewable energy infrastructure.
One of India’s leading renewable energy companies, Welspun Group, has announced plans to invest Rs 15,000 crore –  or $2.5 billion US – to develop wind and solar power capacity over the next three years. The group hopes to have an installed renewable energy capacity of 1.75 GW by the end of the next three years. So far, the group has installed 330 MW capacity, while 750 MW capacity is under development.
The group will continue to invest heavily in the development of solar power capacity; it also expected to install about 120 MW of wind energy capacity by March of next year. The company will invest in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, and Rajasthan to develop solar power projects.
Earlier this year, Welspun Energy commissioned Asia’s largest solar power project. The 151 MW that required an investment of $177 million is located in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, and started generation around February this year.
The project attracted $24 million investment from GE Energy Financial Services earlier this year. Welspun Energy had taken debt worth $150 million for implementing this project, and the equity investment made by GE Energy Financial Services will be used to pay off a portion of the debt.
More recently, the Asian Development Bank had invested $50 million to pick up 13.3% equity stake in a subsidiary of Welspun Energy, Welspun Renewables Energy Limited. The company will use this investment to add more than 250 MW of renewable energy capacity by March 2016.
The company may take additional measures to raised funds to finance the implementation of the envisaged capacity. For this purpose the Asian Development Bank may assist the company to launch an initial public offer.
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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Chennai company to make solar inverters with German technology

Chennai: City-based wind turbine manufacturer ReGen Powertech has announced further diversification into renewable energy space with its German partner Vensys to make mega watt-class solar inverters.

"The company would soon come out with hybrid inverter for wind and solar power generation," R. Sundaresh, joint managing director told reporters here Tuesday late night.

"The solar inverters will be made at the company's existing factories at Tada in Andhra Pradesh and Udaipur in Rajasthan where 1.5 MW wind turbines are made with Vensys technology," he said.

Inverters are devices that convert variable direct current (DC) generated by renewable power plants like wind and solar into utility frequency alternating current (AC) that could be fed into a power grid.

According to Anirudh Khemka, head-Solar, the company will be focussing on big sized solar projects and the inverter cost would depend on the kind of configuration that a buyer opts for.

He said: "Going forward, ReGen would come out with hybrid inverters targeting the wind and solar power sectors".

"No major additional investment is involved for the project as we will be making the product at the existing factories. The product is also largely similar to the inverters we make for wind power sector," Madhusudan Khemka, managing director, said.

ReGen makes gearless wind turbines with technology provided by the German group Vensys.

ReGen would make three classes of solar inverters - 1 MW, 1.5 MW and 2 MW.


India rooftop solar subsidy finally released, but industry says better off without

India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has finally received funds to pay a 30% subsidy promised to rooftop solar installations.
Rooftop solar India subsidy
The 30% subsidy is to help reduce the cost of a total of 25MW of rooftop installations, on government rooftops, of 3-100kW in size. Despite the development some installers look set to shun the scheme in the future, owing to the uncertainty.
The announcement on 12 August has been eagerly awaited following previous deferred payments creating a back log of projects viable for funding, and delaying new projects.
The 30% subsidy also previously applied for installations up to 500kW in size, but budgetary constraints lowered the upper limit to 100kW. No residential solar is included in the 25MW subsidy’s budget allocation.
To be eligible for the subsidy, projects must have completed installation (meeting the MNRE criteria) and payments have no bearings on other JNNSM schemes for solar projects.
The financial support was awarded from India’s National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF), created by charging carbon fuel producers. The funding is for off-grid and decentralised solar installations for 2014-2015, totalling INR142.5 crore (US$26.8 million) in subsidy payments for all government buildings.
The total cost of 25MW of solar installations, according to MNRE was INR475 crore (US$78.2 million).
In March it was announced that MNRE is to have its budget slashed. The 2014-2015 MNRE budget is US$72 million, down from US$246 million allocated last year.
Last year, due to long processes for awards, MNRE only disbursed US$69 million, out of its US$246 million budget.
Talking to PV Tech, local rooftop installer, Zolt Energy’s Pradeep Palleli, said the company is yet to receive the subsidy approval. “Announcing subsidies and not releasing it in time is really a major hurdle hindering the growth of the rooftop solar industry.
“Customers, installers and integrators like us have been fed up with the delays for the last 8-10 months.”
Zolt Energy has now “done away” with applying for subsidies for off-grid installations, said Palleli.
The scheme was “riddled with the elections, and a shortage of funds and with a huge backlog already, we are unsure when approval and funds might be released”, said Palleli.
Although the subsidy scheme can reduce the amount of time it takes solar customers to pay back the up front costs of a solar installation, the knock on effect of installers rising system prices to mitigate for the risks of delayed, and non-payment, and then extra costs in paying staff to chase up subsidy payments means “ultimately, customers may not get much benefit due to subsidy".
Palleli also explains the trouble with customers now expecting a subsidy “even customers who can comfortably afford the investment are looking for a subsidy”.
“It's a little difficult to get the subsidy picture out of customers' minds and we think that the government can do more good by removing subsidy altogether and either provide generation based incentive, or probably cheaper loans to customers,” Palleli added.
The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)’s subsidy scheme resulted in thousands of small PV installations last year. However this year, the number dropped significantly due to a lack of payments from the 40% subsidy promised under the scheme, according to Palleli.
Zolt Energy has tried to find alternative financing with independent financiers, with up to 18 month payment schemes.
Palleli explains the value of off-grid solar systems, providing comfort in reliability and alternative power during the grid’s frequent blackouts, should be pay back enough.
Solar analyst, Bridge to India said in a newsletter the subsidy is “doing more harm than good” for the rooftop solar market in India and 25MW is only a small section of the growing rooftop solar industry.
Bridge to India also produced a model with no subsidies, and calculated the rooftop solar market would add 47MW for 2014 – a 66% growth rate till 2018, with a total of 1.6GW of rooftop solar deployed. The current subsidy “stifles the development of this market by creating an expectation among power consumers that often cannot be met” the consultancy firm said.  
“Everyone is waiting for a subsidy that may never come and the market is put on hold,” said Bridge to India.
Instead, Zolt Energy is now offering customers a mechanism of Equated Monthly Instalments (EMI) with a separate financing company.
Palleli reiterates that solar should not be subsidised based solely on the “environmental damage and natural capital lost due to usage of non-renewable sources of energy".
“It has to be the product that solves the customers' issues and at the same time, makes them feel like a proud owner of an uber-cool, state-of-the-art energy solution. That's what we are trying to do.”
MNRE estimated with the subsidy, it may be possible to generate power between INR5.0 -INR6.50 per unit (US$0.08-0.10), for 20 years. This is cheaper than diesel-based electricity, and could also be cheaper than grid priced electricity.
Bridge to India estimated that unsubsidised grid connected rooftop solar installations are priced at roughly INR75 (US$1.23) per kW, for most 30kW solar systems.
Installers with access to subsidies are quoting the much higher, INR90 (US$1.48) per kW, while if the 30% subsidy is received, the price after payment then goes down to INR65 (US$1.07) per kW.
According to the MNRE announcement, the subsidy is to be reviewed in six months time.
Bridge to India has recommended the government “should scrap the MNRE rooftop subsidy mechanism altogether and instead use these funds for cheaper and more accessible financing for the sector or even expanding the scope of rooftop scheme”.
MNRE said it is to continue to subsidise rooftop solar in June, the announcement on 26 June was one of the first moves regarding solar energy by the newly elected government of India.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Largest Solar Bridge In World

The Largest Solar Bridge In World: via CleanTechnica
The Blackfriars railway bridge in London (above the river Thames) is now covered with 4,400 #solar panels, providing 50% of the station's energy and reduce CO2 emissions by 511 tonnes per year.
Photo credit:

14.5 GW powers 3 Millions Homes on Solar Energy

There are 14.8 GW of solar currently installed in the US, which is enough to power 3 million homes and reduces carbon emissions equivalent to taking 3.5 million vehicles off the road or shuttering more than 4 coal-fired power plants.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Renergy 2014 - India's Largest Renewable Energy Conference - Off Grid Solar

Renergy 2014 in Chennai (Part 1)

Andhra Pradesh solar parks to add 1,300MW to power grid

Picture used for representational purpose. (Photo: DC/File)
Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh government will set up two solar parks of 1,000 MW and 300 MW in Anantapur and Guntur districts respectively. 
The AP Energy department and Non-conventional Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh Limited [Nedcap] have been given 500 acre land in P. Kothapalli of Anantapur district, while the land for the one at Guntur is yet to be finalised.
The market value of each acre has been fixed at Rs 2 lakh and 10 per cent of the total marklet value per acre would be the lease amount to be paid by Nedcap. 
Officials said that the state which was reeling under 22 million units power deficit per day when the TD took charge two months ago, has as on date achieved almost zero power deficit. The power demand in AP is around 135 million units currently and it is almost being met without any scheduled power cuts, officials added.
Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has asked officials to focus on improving all forms of energy generation i.e., hydel, thermal, gas, solar, wind, bio-mass, and nuclear, and set them a target of generating at least 7,000 MW of power in the next five years. 
“When our government assumed office on June 8, the state was reeling under a power deficit of 22 million units a day. As on date, the deficit has become almost zero as we could draw additional power from NTPC (172 mw), Simhapuri (130 mw), other states (75 mw) and even the Krishnapatnam unit has started to function from July 25,” information minister Palle Raghunatha Reddy said.
Stating that there are 2,551 “powerless” habitations in different districts of the state, he said they would be electrified in the next five years. “Agriculture is top priority and seven-hour uninterrupted supply would be given from October 2. Later, it would be extended to 9-hour uninterrupted supply,” he said.