Electricity, essential necessity for living

Electric power or electricity has become one of the most important requirement to improve our life style. Right from lighting to even electricity has become a very dependent source of energy. Due to ever increasing demand of energy and with less generation than requirement procuring electrical energy has become a very costly affair. Hence, non- conventional source of energy has come to the rescue. Out of the various forms of renewable energy solar energy has gained a wider visibility and acceptance worldwide as its most versatile.

Solar Power Plant

Light energy from the sun generates electrical energy which is harnessed using solar photovoltaic panels. These photovoltaic panels are generally made up of silicon materials which is widely available on earth’s surface in the form of sand.


Why Solar Power Plant??

Solar Photovoltaic Power plant is one of the most reliable and cost effective way to generate electrical energy rather than any other form of alternative source of energy. A simple pv system just consists of solar pv panels and dc loads.

Solar Roof Top Photovoltaic Systems

Here solar panels are mounted on the roof top of any buildings be it a flat/ sloppy roof top structure. Electrical energy generated this way can be utilized in two ways:

Off Grid Systems

Once this system is installed in the roof top the electrical energy generated during the day time can be stored in the batteries. These batteries are special type of batteries specifically designed to store the electrical energy generated from the sun. They are very different from the conventional batteries.

Advantages

  • Cost effective
  • 24 x 7 connected with electricity
  • More reliable than grid

Disadvantages

  • Expensive than On- Grid System
  • Battery requires maintenance
  • Checking of distilled water at regular intervals
  • Battery bank needs to be replaced after few years

On- Grid Systems

Here the system is directly connected with the existing utility grid. During the day the excess generated is directly exported to the grid. These type of systems doesn’t use batteries. Hence during the night the electrical energy is imported from the utility grid. The energy imported and exported from the grid is recorded in a bidirectional meter. The existing energy meter is replaced with a bidirectional/ net meter for this sole purpose. At the month end the imported and the exported energy is calculated and the consumer only needs to pay for the imported energy if any. Generally the exported energy is always higher than the imported ones. In such cases the consumer is liable to obtain special benefits from the utility grid.

Advantages

  • Less Expensive
  • Low Maintenance

Disadvantages

  • Completely grid dependent
  • No storage
  • No energy can be exported or imported during power failure.
  • Installation of a Solar Power Plant System is a one-time investment with high credibility. The benefits of such a system can be relished lifelong. The struggle arises when a consumer wants to install such a plant. We here at WattSun Energy are specialized to provide you with enormous information and knowledge. It helps you to understand which kind of system suits your requirement the best. Being in this field for a couple of years we have equipped ourselves in providing you with the best cost effective customized solutions for residential, commercial and industrial establishments.

     The Modi government recently completed two years in office. Substantial progress has been made in our view on improving overall sector investment outlook and policy environment in these two years under ministerPiyushGoyal.

    There is a very supportive broad policy framework in place; Specific policies and/or plans have either been put in place or are being deliberated upon for each of the key sectoral issues including land and transmission availability, distribution company (DISCOM) finances and grid capacity;More needs to be done on boosting rooftop solar market and improving long-term financing flow to the sector but the industry seems broadly satisfied with overall progress;

    Over the past two years, the rooftop solar market in India has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 90%. As of March 31, 2016 the cumulative installed capacity stands at 740 MW (refer INDIA SOLAR HANDBOOK 2016). This growth is directly linked to the improvement in price competitiveness of rooftop solar power vs grid power.

    Commercial and industrial (C&I) segment makes up almost 73% of the market, leaving the remaining 27% for the residential segment. As viability improves, we expect industrial rooftop segment to account for the fastest expansion at an annual growth rate of 248% until 2020. Tamil Nadu leads the installations due to high consumer awareness and lack of reliable grid power. Gujarat comes in second place and here the rooftop market has been primarily driven by state government initiatives.  Maharashtra comes in third driven by high consumer tariffs across all consumer categories is very high.

    Around 87% of all rooftop capacity in India is based on the CAPEX model while about 13% (102 MW) is based on the OPEX/ RESCO model. However, the OPEX based project market is showing a year on year growth of about 150%, and is expected to take up a higher market share as the market matures. In other developed countries like the US and UK, the OPEX model is a preferred choice for consumers.

     

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    Despite the impressive growth, the market is still way behind on achieving the 40 GW rooftop capacity target for 2022. This is especially true if we compare it to the success of the utility scale solar segment. The key challenges that the government needs to address are improving net metering policy framework and cost/ availability of financing for consumer and start-up RESCO’s. Consumer education remains another major hurdle for the sector.

    The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued a draft national policy for mini and micro grids (refer). The policy aims to create up to 500 MW capacity in the private sector in the next five years.

    India has a terrible record on providing reliable grid electricity to large parts of the country; several startups have enjoyed limited success in the mini and micro grid sector but a scalable, profitable model seems to be elusive. The policy provides some much needed policy certainty to the sector and includes measures such as single window clearance, grid connectivity and pricing visibility for evolution of bankable business models

    Grid power is heavily subsidized for residential and agricultural consumers and the ability of these consumers to pay for more expensive mini/micro grid power continues to be a concern. The Modi government wants to provide ‘24×7 power for all’ in the country by 2019. This is a very lofty target as India has up to 250 million people without access to grid and many more still who have grid connection but face outages of up to 16 hours a day.

    As a part of the DeenDayalUpadhyaya Gram JyotiYojna (DDUGJY), the government is in the process of electrifying 18,452 villages by May 2018. Out of this, 14,204 villages have been identified for extension of the grid and 3,449 villages are to be electrified through off-grid power projects (refer). As per the government data, grid extension work is progressing ahead of schedule and 49% of the target has been achieved in the past one year. However, only 16% of the off-grid target has been achieved so far (refer).

    Several start-up enterprises have sprung up in the last few years offering multiple business models and product solutions in this space. Companies like Husk Power, Gram Power, Gram Oorja and OMC Power have enjoyed reasonable success but a scalable, profitable model seems to be largely elusive. Main challenges include customer inability to pay (poor affordability), poor policy framework and multiple implementation challenges.

     

    The draft policy is technology agnostic and tries to address many of these challenges:

    • determination of regulated prices for mini grid projects with some tariff determination flexibility provided to mini/micro grid operators;
    • single window clearances for seeking regulatory approvals and right of way, availability of information on taxes and exemptions;
    • notification of areas where grid extension is not planned;
    • creation of local village committees to ensure customer adoption, payment collection and faster dispute resolution;
    • provision of grid connection to enable sale of power to local utilities;
    • RPO multiplier to make interconnection more attractive for distribution companies; and
    • Specification of quality and performance standards.

    The policy is still in draft stage and is meant as a guideline for states, who can adapt or modify the policy based on their local needs. BRIDGE TO INDIA believes that it provides some much needed policy certainty to the sector and includes many of the measures needed for evolution of bankable business models for mini and micro grids. But somewhat surprisingly, it doesn’t offer any direct financial incentives or subsidies. Grid power is heavily subsidized for residential and agricultural consumers and the ability of these consumers to pay for more expensive mini/micro grid power continues to be a concern.

    On Sunday, 5th June 2015, one of India’s leading economic journalists, SwaminathanAiyar, in his weekly column “Swaminomics”, wrote that India should wait for five years before trying to implement big plans for solar (refer). He argues that solar is still a comparatively expensive energy generation technology and that because India is an evening peak country, increasing the share of solar would be a “double whammy”, by driving up indirect costs for thermal, peak power generating sources. As a result, he concludes, India should go all out on solar only after it is fully established that the cost breakthrough has been achieved and the technology is more mature. While there are interesting insights in the article, but we disagree with his conclusions. Here is why.

     

    • Solar costs are not as high as Swami claims. In fact, upcoming NSM bids will show that it’s neck to neck with new thermal projects.
    • India is an evening peak country right now but as the economy develops the peak will move into the daytime (cooling).
    • Global investors already see the social and economic appeal of solar and are moving out from coal to the sector.

    This Order is applicable to all new grid connected solar rooftop and small solar photo voltaic power plants, entering into Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and commissioned on or after 2nd May, 2016 and up to 31st March, 2018.

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    Sharing of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) benefits between the generating company and the beneficiaries

    • 100% of gross proceeds on account of CDM benefit are to be retained by the project developer in the first year, after the date of commercial operation of the generating station,
    • In the second year, the share of distribution licensees shall be 10%, which shall be progressively increased by 10% every year till it reaches 50% and thereafter, the proceeds shall be shared in equal proportion by the generating companies and the beneficiaries.

    Grid Connectivity for roof-top projects

    • 1 kW to 5 kW – single phase 230 volts
    • 5 kW to 50 kW – 3 phase 415 Volts
    • 50 kW to 1 MW – 11 kV line.

    Metering

    • Metering shall be in compliance with the CEA (Installation and Operation of Meters) Regulations 2006 as amended from time to time.
    • In the case of, solar rooftop PV systems connected to LT grid of a distribution company, the concept of net metering shall be adopted and the net energy pumped into the grid shall be billed.
    • In the net -metering, the consumer is paid for the net energy i.e., the difference between energy generated from solar rooftop plant and consumed by his/her installation.
    • This concept allows only surplus energy to be injected into the grid. The Commission had proposed to continue with net-metering concept for all consumers, other than domestic consumers.
    • In the case of domestic consumers, the Commission had proposed to adopt gross metering concept where the entire energy generated by the solar rooftop plant is allowed to be injected into the grid

    Note – An amendment to CEA (Installation and Operation of Meters) Regulations 2006 has been issued recently, in which a new definition of “renewable energy meter” has been introduced to extend clarity to net-metering scheme.

    • If export>import, ESCOM pays generator at the tariff determined.
    • If import > export; then generators pays to DISCOM at prevailing retail tariff.

    Applicability of Wheeling and Banking Charges and Cross Subsidy Surcharge:

    For solar generators going with intra-state open-access, no wheeling/banking charges or cross- subsidy charges are to be paid.

     

    The Chhattisgarh Electricity Regulatory Commission came up with its final order on the CSERC (Terms and Conditions for Determination of Renewable Energy (RE) Tariff) Regulations, 2015, (“the RE Tariff Regulations”) on 1st May, 2016. The RE Tariff Regulations specify the Terms and Conditions and the Procedure for determination of Generic Tariff by the Commission. Central Commission has specified capital cost as Rs.619.16 Lakh/MW for wind energy projects for the year 2015-16.The graph below gives a comparison of the RE tariff determined in year 2013-14, 2014-15 to 2015-16 for wind generators.

    wind-cserc

    In the Draft Generic Tariff Order, the normative Capital Cost for the Solar PV power projects for was not declared by CERC and accordingly, the Commission proposed to consider the same Capital Cost of Rs. 605.85 lakh/MW for the Solar PV Projects and Rs. 1200 lakh/MW for Solar Thermal Projects to be commissioned in the period from 1 April, 2015 to 31 March, 2016.

    The graph below gives comparison of Generic Tariffs for Solar Projects in the period from 2015– 2016 to the previous years. The tariff has been determined depending on the type of solar project as follows:

    graph2