Punjab looks at sun to cut down Rs 5,500 cr free power bill

Punjab is looking towards tapping solar energy to cut down its mounting free power bill. After announcing to make the state power surplus through thermal plants,Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal Tuesday said it would try to use solar power to run the nearly 13 lakh tubewells in the state.

“We have to ensure power not subsidy to farmers. If we are able to generate power through solar plants and solar parks,Punjab would not have to shell out Rs 5,500 to Rs 6,000 crore as power subsidy,” he said after giving away letters of award for generating 250 MW of solar power to private bidders,including eight large (five to 30 MW) and 18 small (one to four MW) plants.

Punjab had initially set a target of bidding out 1,000 MW for solar power. It was brought down to a more pragmatic 300 MW by the Punjab Renewable Energy Agency (PEDA),of which bids were received for 250 MW.

Punjab Renewable Energy Minister Bikram Singh Majithia said Punjab is said to have missed the information technology bus,but it will not miss the solar energy boom. “Each megawatt of solar power entails investment of Rs 8 to 10 crore. By installing 250 MW,we will bring in investment of Rs 2,500 crore to Rs 3,000 crore. We have also identified space for installing solar panels on government buildings. To begin with,60 MW will be bid out. For making biomass based plants viable,we will approach the power regulator for allowing a more attractive rate of power purchase. There are also plans to create solar parks with installed capacity of up to 1000 MW,” he said.

Majithia said five other states had also bid for solar energy simultaneously but the response to Punjab was better owing to the “incentives policy,making prior arrangements for payments with banks and other facilitation services offered by the government”. “We studied policies of other states and came out with one which attracted the highest number of bidders. Unlike thermal plants,renewable sources of energy pose no environment hazard. The rates of solar energy are also going down – they are around Rs 8 per unit – making them viable for states to purchase it,” he added.

Advertisements

Punjab to set up solar power clusters for tubewells

Punjab government has decided to explore the possibility of developing solar power clusters to energise agricultural pumps in rural areas besides setting up of solar panels on canals and roof tops of big buildings to help the state bring down the power subsidy cost.

Punjab government has decided to explore the possibility of developing solar power clusters to energise agricultural pumps in rural areas besides setting up of solar panels on canals and roof tops of big buildings to help the state bring down the power subsidy cost.

Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal on Wednesday said that “there is a large scope for developing solar power clusters in rural areas to provide power to agricultural pumps directly thereby cutting the subsidy and further investing the saved money to produce clean energy”.

Sukhbir asked the Non-Renewable Energy Minister Bikram Singh Majithia to get a study including technical as well as financial viability of the solar power clusters done.

“Under this proposed initiative,a cluster of tubewells and their power requirement will be identified. Based on this,solar power panels with one time investment can be installed to supply it power,” state-owned Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) Chief Executive Officer T P S Sidhu said.

The government supplies free power to farmers and the subsidy burden arising out of free power is expected to grow to Rs 5,700 crore this fiscal.

Majithia informed that PEDA was considering a proposal to create land pools in Kandi as well as Kalanaur area of Gurdaspur district to attract investment for setting up of big solar power plants.

Sukhbir also asked PEDA to set a target to generate 500 MW of power,each in biomass and solar power sectors in next two years. He also asked PEDA to analyse reasons for slow implementation of setting up such plants and directed to remove the bottlenecks.

The Deputy CM said it was high time for the state to replicate the success solar power stories of Gujarat and Rajasthan in the state.

He also directed for the cancellation of permissions to those companies which were dilly-dallying their projects on one and another pretext. He underlined the need to encourage both new entrepreneurs and big players by giving permission to them up to 2 MW and up to 25 MW,respectively.

Decoding the solar track record of India’s political parties

The first solar policy in India was released by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state of Gujarat in 2009. This was soon followed by a much more comprehensive National Solar Mission at the central government level by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) headed by the Indian National Congress (INC). Both these policies have laid the foundation for the creation of a solar power ecosystem in the country. Today, apart from the NSM at the central government level, 11 Indian states have a solar policy in place (refer). With the general elections underway, BRIDGE TO INDIA is trying to assess which political disposition is more favorable to the solar industry in the country (refer to our first blog of the subject). Today, we are trying to evaluate the experience until now to judge the various state policies based on the political dispensation responsible for it.

  • On an average, BJP ruled states lead in both signing the PPAs and execution of projects followed by INC and then the regional parties
  • The Indian National Congress has to be credited with introducing NSM at the central government level
  • There is a need to improve on the mission and make it more ambitious in terms of its target

Four Indian states introduced their policies when the Indian National Congress (INC) had been in power. These states include: Andhra Pradesh (2012), Uttarakhand (2013), Kerala (2013) and Rajasthan (2011) (Rajasthan now has a BJP government). Cumulatively, these state policies aim to achieve an installed capacity of 4,600 MW across varying time horizons. PPAs for 738 MW have been signed in these states. Of this, a capacity of just 101 MW has been installed.

In comparison, four states introduced their solar policy when the country’s prime opposition political party, Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), was in power in the respective states. These states include: Gujarat (2009), Madhya Pradesh (2012), Chhattisgarh (2012) and Karnataka (2011) (Karnataka now has a Congress government). Cumulatively, these state policies aim to achieve an installed capacity of 2,000 MW across varying time horizons. PPAs for 1,180 MW have been signed in these states. Of this, a capacity of just 1,050 MW has been installed. Gujarat leads the way with an impressive 860 MW installed, followed by noteworthy installations for 175 MW in Madhya Pradesh.

Regional parties in Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab have announced state policies with an aim to achieve an installed capacity of 5,825 MW across varying time horizons. PPAs for 414 MW have been signed in these states. Of this, a capacity of just 8 MW has been installed.

From the initial analysis, it is apparent that on an average, the regional parties have been the most ambitious with their policy targets, followed by INC and the BJP. The order for actual signing of PPAs and commissioning of projects has been just the reverse. BJP ruled states lead in both signing of PPAs and execution of projects, followed by the INC and then the regional parties. 80% of all BJP ruled states, 36% of the INC ruled states and 30% of regional party ruled states have a solar policy in place.

Based on past record, it can be concluded that with regards to solar power, BJP ruled states have done better on most counts except their ambition to set targets. Also, amongst the four regional parties that have released solar policies in their respective states, three have allied with the BJP in the past.

In addition to what is happening at the state level, the INC has to be credited with bringing in the NSM at the central government level. The mission was considered ambitious when it was released. Now, there is a need to improve on the mission and make it more ambitious and in line with targets being set by countries such as China and Japan. Whether or not a probable BJP government is able to deliver it, is yet to be seen. To get more perspective on India solar sector dynamics, follow BRIDGE TO INDIA’s blog.

Su-Kam to commission solar power system in rural households of UP

LUCKNOW: Su-Kam Power Systems, lndia’s leading power back up solutions provider, has bagged a first of its kind large scale solar project in Uttar Pradesh to install and commission solar power systems in 40000 rural households in the state. 

The company has bagged this prestigious project after winning a tender from Uttar Pradesh New and Renewable Energy Development Agency (UPNEDA), which has been assigned this project under the “Lohia Awas Project” by the Government of UP. 

As part of this project, Su-Kam shall be installing “Solar PV power packs” which comprise of 3 nos. of LED lights (2 LEDs of 3 W & 1 LED of 5W), 1 DC ceiling fan (25 W) and 1 solar charge controller with mobile charging point in each of the rural houses. The project that aims to provide electricity to these 40000 homes shall span over a period of 1 year. 

Solar Energy Corp gets electricity trading licence

Solar Energy Corporation of , which has been set up to develop the solar power sector, has received inter-state electricity trading licence. 

The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has approved ‘Category III’ inter-state power trading licence to the company. 

Among others, an entity should have a net worth of Rs 5 crore to be eligible for trading licence under Category III — where there is some limit on volumes of electricity that can be traded. 

“We are satisfied that the applicant company meets the requirements of the (Electricity) Act and the Trading Licence Regulations for grant of inter-state trading licence for Category III,” the regulator said in an order dated April 1. 

The licence has been issued subject to certain conditions including limit on trading volume. In exceptional circumstances, SECI can undertake trading in electricity up to the maximum of 120 per cent of the volume of trade authorised under the licence granted to it. 

Electricity is traded on power exchanges. 

Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), set up in September 2011, comes under the administrative control of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. 

Mandate of SECI allows wide ranging activities to be undertaken to facilitate implementation of JNNSM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission) besides it has the objective of solar technologies and inclusive solar power development in the country, according to its website.

SunPower Charges Solar Leasing Program With $42 Million

US manufacturer SunPower has secured $42 million that will be aimed at escalating its solar leasing program. The California-based company now has 20,000 American households signed up for solar leasing, a trend initially led by others that SunPower has jumped into.

This $42 financial investment comes from Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital, Inc. (NYSE: HASI) in the form of “non-recourse debt.” Non-recourse debt, according to Wikipedia, “is secured by a pledge of collateral, typically real property, but for which the borrower is not personally liable. If the borrower defaults, the lender/issuer can seize the collateral, but the lender’s recovery is limited to the collateral. Thus, non-recourse debt is typically limited to 50% or 60% loan-to-value ratios, so that the property itself provides ‘overcollateralization’ of the loan.”

The bottom line, however, is simply that SunPower sees solar leasing as a good continued business strategy.

“The SunPower Lease program offers our customers financing under highly competitive terms for their SunPower solar panels, the most efficient on the market today. When coupled with our unprecedented level of energy assurance, the SunPower Lease program delivers more value to the homeowner,” said SunPower CFO Chuck Boynton. “Among our portfolio of financing options, solar lease remains one of the more popular choices by consumers and our innovative partnership with Hannon Armstrong will allow us to further fund the program’s growth this year.”

California installed more solar power in 2013 than in the previous 30 years combined, and a lot of that was installed via solar leasing.

SunPower Charges Solar Leasing Program With $42 Million

illion that will be aimed at escalating its solar leasing program. The California-based company now has 20,000 American households signed up for solar leasing, a trend initially led by others that SunPower has jumped into.

This $42 financial investment comes from Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital, Inc. (NYSE: HASI) in the form of “non-recourse debt.” Non-recourse debt, according to Wikipedia, “is secured by a pledge of collateral, typically real property, but for which the borrower is not personally liable. If the borrower defaults, the lender/issuer can seize the collateral, but the lender’s recovery is limited to the collateral. Thus, non-recourse debt is typically limited to 50% or 60% loan-to-value ratios, so that the property itself provides ‘overcollateralization’ of the loan.”

The bottom line, however, is simply that SunPower sees solar leasing as a good continued business strategy.

“The SunPower Lease program offers our customers financing under highly competitive terms for their SunPower solar panels, the most efficient on the market today. When coupled with our unprecedented level of energy assurance, the SunPower Lease program delivers more value to the homeowner,” said SunPower CFO Chuck Boynton. “Among our portfolio of financing options, solar lease remains one of the more popular choices by consumers and our innovative partnership with Hannon Armstrong will allow us to further fund the program’s growth this year.”

California installed more solar power in 2013 than in the previous 30 years combined, and a lot of that was installed via solar leasing.