India's Solar Mission Continues, Floating Solar PV is the Latest Buzz

The potential for solar power has been estimated for most parts of the country at around 30-50 MW per square kilometer of open, shadow free area covered with solar panels/collectors. The government is providing several fi nancial and fiscal incentives to promote setting up of solar and wind power projects throughout the country, including the hill States.

With so much happening in the field of solar sector, India seems to double its solar power generation capacities till 2015 and will witness a huge development in the sector. By 2017, India is expecting to eightfold its solar capacity - a dream that seems to be attainable as both private and public sector in the country are making big efforts to promote renewable energy all around. Government, continuing its National Solar Mission, is likely to tender more than 750 megawatts of capacity in the first week of May, 2013.

Bids for Solar Project in AP, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu
Recently, Andhra Pradesh had invited bids or the purchase of electricity generated by solar plants of 1,000 MW and about 294 bids were submitted by more than 180 companies. Alpha InfraProp Private Ltd, which is already setting up a 4x660 MW super-critical, coal-based power plant in Komarada in Srikakulam district, emerged as the biggest bidder (80 MW solar power) along with State are Surya Green Power (50 MW), Azure Green (30 MW), Pennar Industries(10 MW), Surana Ventures and Photon Energy (5 MW), as per official information. SunBorne Energy has also bid for setting up solar plants totaling 20 MW in Andhra Pradesh. Gagan Vermani, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer (PV business head), SunBorne Energy had said that the company was planning to invest about Rs 180 for 20 MW solar facility in the state.

Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka are actively engaged in looking out for possibilities to increase solar capacities in their respective states. Karnataka had also invited tenders for 1,000 MW. While Andhra Pradesh's solar tender oversubscribed by 34 percent, Tamil Nadu could not event fill half of the tender capacity 1 gigawatt - one of the biggest in the country .

Ministry for New and Renewable Energy is also planning to build a solar city in the country. The ministry has already allocated a sum of 16.25 crore to UT administration for implementation of Model Solar City Programme in Chandigarh. The plan envisages building a 25 Mega Watts solar Photo Voltaic (PV) plant.

Largest Project in India
Welspun Energy Limited has also commissioned IndiaĘs largest 50 MW(AC) Solar PV Project in Rajasthan. The company claims that the project is ahead of schedule and below the budgeted cost.

This solar project will power 25 million homes by generating 90 million kWh electricity and about 83,220 million tonnes of carbon emissions will be mitigated every year.

EL had commissioned part 15 MW capacity earlier this year, and the balance 35 MW capacity additions have been achieved recently; thereby meeting its commitment of generating clean energy for fueling RajasthanĘs growth. Within three days of commissioning, the 15 MW capacity is generating a high DC PLF percent of 22.6 percent in the stabilisation period. WEL had won this 50 MW solar project in a competitive bid under Batch-2, Phase-1 of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. WEL was the only company to have been awarded a maximum capacity of 50 MW under this scheme, making this the largest project in India.

Floating Solar PV
New concept like Floating Solar PV is the latest buzz. Recently, Ciel et Terre (France) & Klystron Electronics (Kolkata) have a signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up floating solar plants in the northern region of the country. The deal was facilitated by the European Business and Technology Centre (EBTC).

Ciel et Terre and Klystrone Electronics will be jointly evaluating and tapping the immense opportunities to co-develop floating solar PV project. Suman Lahiri (Regional Manger EBTC, said that this partnership will help implement the technology, not only in West Bengal, but across the water-rich regions. This is just one of the many initiatives that EBTC is taking in the region.

Floating solar PV is a unique solution to address the combined issue of energy, water conservation and land availability. The Hydrelio system patented by Ciel & Terre is a reliable and eco-friendly way to save valuable land and convert a water area into a profitable large scale solar power plant (from 1 to 50 MW), EBTC said in a statement.

Upstream Chemicals and Materials Markets to Grow
According to Frost and SullivanĘs latest report, the implementation of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) by the Government of India (GoI) is driving growth in the solar industry, specifically, the manufacturing of cells and modules. This will drive growth in related upstream chemicals and materials markets.

"With high peak power deficit, erratic crude oil prices, coal shortages and uncertainty of nuclear power, renewable energy sources such as solar power will be the future of sustainable power generation," noted Frost & Sullivan Analyst. "New opportunities to explore in the market for chemicals and materials used in solar cells and modules are presented with the JNNSM mandating indigenisation of solar cells and modules."

JNNSM aims to develop 20,000 MW of grid-connected solar power by 2022. Additionally, plans to promote India as a manufacturing hub for solar products with mandatory indigenisation of solar cells and modules are being implemented.

The scheme offers new opportunities to invest in the market for chemicals and materials used in the manufacture of solar products in India. The demand for chemicals and materials used in solar cells and modules is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 22.2 percent till 2015, with the growth for module components estimated at over 25 percent CAGR for the same time period.

Minister for New and Renewable Energy, Dr Farooq Abdullah has recently revealed that following the launch of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, (JNNSM) in 2010 the domestic manufacturing capacity of SPV cells and modules has increased from about 200 MW to 2000 MW.

"One of the important objectives of the JNNSM is to promote domestic manufacturing in solar energy sector and certain domestic content requirements were made mandatory in various schemes of JNNSM Phase-I. The Government has also extended the benefits of excise duty exemption on finished products and of concessional customs duty on raw materials and equipment required for manufacturing, to encourage domestic industry." He added.