Companies & Sectors
Solar Power Generation: Encouraging developments with huge opportunities!
It is hoped that in the ensuing budget, some encouraging provisions would be made to increase production of solar power to support domestic manufacturers
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRN) has put out a draft guideline for setting up 3,000 MW grid connected Solar Photovoltaic PV capacity and bundling it with unallocated thermal power as part of National Solar Mission's Phase II. 
The new additional capacity in clean energy sector rose by 9% in the last 9 months this fiscal, according to the information available.  The total installed capacity of solar power crossed 3,000 MW, according to the MNRN.  It well known that this Ministry is already promoting the use of solar PV powered irrigation pumps that reduce costs and pollution but much more can be done to encourage small businesses to develop models that deliver, install and maintain home, village and mini-grid renewable energy systems. 
In the words of Naoki Ishii, CEO and Chair Person of Global Environment Facility (GEF), and a former Vice Minister of Finance, Japan, "the challenge lies not in the Government's intent or approach, but in its agility in scaling it up."  He has referred to the classic example of the 10 MW Narmada Canal Solar Power Project and how solar power can be tapped to serve useful purpose to the community.
Narendra Surana, President of Indian Solar Power Producers Association wants the Centre to treat this industry as a "priority sector" and attempt to install at least 15,000 to 20,000 MW of solar power every year.
He is reported to have said that priority sector lending would mean the rate of interest would come down by 2% to 3% to about 10% like for home and other related loans. Such a move would make solar plants bankable and accelerate project implementation.  Surana wants modules to be procured from Indian manufacturers, as this will generate more jobs and even foreign manufacturers may be attracted to put up their production facilities, supporting the "Make in India" a reality.  Domestic manufacturers like Tata Solar Power Systems have production facilities in Bengaluru.
Leading US-based renewable energy firm SunEdison plans to set up 5-gigawatt of solar power generation in Karnataka State, having signed an agreement with them, in the next five years. It is expected to be cost competitive with coal-based electricity without subsidies or incentives.  SunEdison will provide the required technology and finance to build a mix of solar photovoltaic and wind energy plants across the State. It must be noted that SunEdison is a global leader in generating and distributing clean and green energy.
Today, coal-based power is costing Rs3.5 to Rs4.5 per unit as against Rs6-Rs7 per solar power unit.  This is the base rate at which producers sell to distribution utilities.  In the case of NTPC, they have set up a trading arm, known as NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN) that will purchase the solar power and bundle it with unallocated thermal power generated by NTPC and this is expected to cost around Rs4.50 per unit.
The bundled power will be sold to willing State Utilities, under a 25-year sale agreement, but the detailed mechanism, which is being worked out, has not been made public, yet. However, the successful bidders will not be allowed to quote a tariff higher than that approved by CERC!
In order to encourage the growth of solar power generation, Indian Government's decision not to impose anti-dumping duty on solar panels imported from China, US, Malaysia and Taiwan has been generally welcomed by Thierry Lepercq, head of Solar power producer, Solardirect, who has 16 MW installed capacity in India and a further 100 MW are at various construction stage, in various places. He said that Solar Parks can be built in six months, as against years of construction and huge investments needed for hydro-generation plants!
In the meantime, power starved Karnataka State has announced revised procurement tariff by its Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC), effective from 1st January, and valid till 31st December stating that the higher tariff to be paid by the electricity supply companies (Escoms) will not have a "major impact" on the consumer!  KERC has increased the cost to Rs4.16 from Rs3.40 for mini-hydel plants; for co-generation plants tariff has gone up to Rs4.83 from Rs3.90 while the tariff for bio-mass plant has gone to Rs5.19 from Rs3.66 per unit. They expect that, as a result, the annual generation of power would increase by about 500 MW. Karnataka has 4,500 MW of installed capacity.
It is hoped that, in the ensuing budget, some encouraging provisions are made in order to increase the production of solar power to support the domestic manufacturers. At the same time, it would be ideal if the government decides to make it mandatory for all NEW manufacturing plants to set up solar parks in the vicinity of their factories to generate the much needed power. As for the existing factories, they should be incentivised to install solar photovoltaic modules on the roof tops of their plants to generate additional power that their plants may need. Or make this available to the national grid!
If such steps are taken, India's aim to reach 100 GW of solar power generation capacity by 2022 would be easily achieved!
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)



Dr Anantha K Ramdas

2 years ago

It is heartening to see read the comments from our dear readers. In simple terms, what we really need is a functional, basic solar modular panel or whatever simple name that can be given, which can be kept exposed to the Sun. This "equipment" should be within the reach of the aam aadmi.

If someone can come with the idea of an umbrella carrying a modular cell that can convert the solar power, which can be stored in a battery, and used subsequently, the inventor is guaranteed to get a noble prize for this monumental discovery!

Veeresh Malik, only rently mentioned, in his article about the solar cooker, and that he was happy with its performance. Likewise, we have to come up with portable modules that can be even used as a headgear for millions of people working in farms, which, they can bring back and plug in the battery for bring power to their homes.

Our dynamic PM must come with a proposal to do all the above; and, most importantly, make available for funds to be given to inventors who can come with such workable ideas.

Yes, as we make progress in a particular field, as Ankur Bhatnagar has pointed out, the cost is going to come down. But in the meantime, we have lost millions of solar power hours that we could have otherwise gained by tapping!

Are we not replacing our cell phones and computers practically every day as new and improvised ones come that are cheaper than the first one we bought? That's the cost of progress we have to make, as we have no alternative, and cannot wait and say, let me wait for a few more years, and the cost of computer would come down to Rs 500 a piece instead of buying it now at Rs 30/40000!!!

Time lost is lost for ever. Let's make the sacrifice so that our grandchildren can get a better way of life!



In Reply to Dr Anantha K Ramdas 2 years ago

good report sir. we must try and adopt the solar energy for Governament buildings to start with. and it should be used in Petrol bunks, where most of the power is used.

Ankur Bhatnagar

2 years ago

I would like the government to go slow on solar power.

This is probably a controversial position, and I am happy to hear the counterarguments. Here is my reasoning.

The solar cell technology has a long way to go. Even today the commercial solar cells convert only 20% sunlight into electricity, though their costs have come down. Technologies are currently being developed that can raise this from 20% to 40%, and even in the range of over 60%. If you go slow now and accelerate, say in 2022, you will be able to generate three times the energy from the same space. Otherwise you would be stuck with inefficient technologies for 25-30 years.

On the other hand, the cost of oil has come down. There is still some headroom in carbon emissions. The goals are to cut down the emissions to 1990 levels by 2050. That gives us some time and 2022 or even 2025 is not very far away from that perspective.

This is not my hardened position but something I think needs analysis.

Narendra Nath Hazra

2 years ago

To make the use of solar energy Govt. has to take lot of initiative at least to save use of fuel for countries interest as far as possible.
I personally feel that
1 solar panel and and solar water heater to be manufactured at most economical way so that common people can make use of that.
2.some subsidy and long term loan to be offered. for domestic buyer.
N.N. Hazra


2 years ago

the concept of using solar energy has not yet penetrated the masses in India. People as usual seek a easier method to buy and use a known form of energy such petrol or kerosene. Even if is costly people find it convenient to use either a electric geyser or stove to make hot water. With majority Indians not having a roof over their head it is not wise to thing to ban the use of geyser for making hot water. Well for a beginning things have started moving in the right direction and we can hope solar energy will light our homes.

Maruti Suzuki December quarter net profit up 18% to Rs802 crore

Higher volumes, reduced material cost and favourable foreign exchange contributed to the bottomline of Maruti Suzuki during the third quarter that ended in December


Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, the country's largest carmaker reported a 17.8% higher net profit during the December quarter on higher volumes and forex benefits.
For the quarter to end-December, the carmaker, a unit of Japanese Suzuki Motor Corp, said its net profit rose 17.8% to Rs802.2 crore from Rs681.2 crore, same period last year.
“Higher volumes, material cost reduction initiatives and favourable foreign exchange contributed to the bottomline during the quarter,” the company said in a statement.
Maruti Suzuki said its net sales during the third quarter stood at Rs12,263.14 crore, up 15.5% as against Rs10,619.68 crore in December 2013 quarter.
Volume sales in the quarter were up 12.4% at 3.24 lakh units as compared to 2.88 lakh units in the same period last fiscal, it added.
During the December quarter, Maruti Suzuki's domestic sales were at 2.95 lakh units as against 2.68 lakh units while exports stood at 28,709 units as compared to 19,966 units in the year-ago period.
At 2.30pm Tuesday, Maruti Suzuki was trading 1% higher at Rs3,645 on the BSE, while the benchmark Sensex was marginally up at 29,388.


Johnson Controls to buy 25.74% stake in Hitachi India

Johnson Controls would buy little over 70 lakh shares of Hitachi Home & Life Solutions at an offer price of Rs821.38 per share or around Rs575.04 crore. This follows a definitive global JV agreement signed between Johnson Controls and Hitachi in Davos last week 


Johnson Controls Inc said it plans to acquire 25.74% stake in Hitachi Home & Life Solutions (India) Ltd through an open offer, worth about Rs575 crore.
In a public announcement to Hitachi’s shareholders, Johnson Controls said it would acquire little over 70 lakh shares at an offer price of Rs821.38 per share amounting to Rs575.04 crore.
In a regulatory filing, Johnson Controls said it has proposed to launch an open offer to acquire “up to 70,00,990 fully paid-up equity shares of face value of Rs10 each of the target company representing 25.74 % of fully diluted voting equity share capital.”
Last week, Johnson Controls and Hitachi Appliances had entered into a definitive agreement to form a global joint venture (JV) for heating, air conditioning, ventilation and refrigeration (HVAC).
Post completion of the open offer, the JV company, either directly or through one or more subsidiaries, will hold 74.25% of the target company, the company added.
As per the agreement, Johnson Controls will obtain a 60% ownership in Hitachi Appliances. The deal excludes sales and service operations in Japan.
Hitachi Appliances will continue to provide Hitachi branded HVAC products in the Japanese market after this transaction, the company said in a statement.
The transaction is expected to close later this year, subject to regulatory approvals and satisfaction of other customary conditions.
At 2.20pm Tuesday, Hitachi Home & Life Solutions was trading 6.6% down at Rs1,060 on the BSE, while the 30-share Sensex was marginally up at 29,388.


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