Emerging Markets Outlook 2018. Energy transition in the world’s fastest growing economies

Fuelled by surging electricity demand and sinking technology costs, developing nations are today leading a global clean power transition. This marks a remarkable turnabout from a decade ago when the world’s wealthiest countries accounted for the bulk of renewable investment and deployment activity. Developing nations at the time were viewed as holding enormous promise only; wind, solar, geothermal and other clean technologies were regarded as too expensive for mass deployment.

Last year’s Climatescope documented how the locus of clean energy activity had shifted noticeably from “North” to “South”, from OECD to non-OECD countries. This year’s survey goes one step further by illustrating how less developed nations are now very much driving the energy transition.

Leadership is an elusive quality to quantify. Still, this year’s Climatescope offers compelling evidence that developing nations are at the forefront of change toward a cleaner-powered future. Consider:

  • In 2017, the large majority of the world’s new zero-carbon power capacity was built in developing countries. A total of 114GW (including nuclear and hydro as well as “new renewables”) was added in these nations, compared with approximately 63GW added in wealthier nations.
  • In a first, renewables accounted for the majority of all new power-generating capacity added. Developing countries added 186GW in 2017 to their grids with wind and solar alone accounting for 94GW – just over half.
  • Clean energy deployment is growing fastest in developing nations. New-build additions rose 20.4% year-on-year in these countries. By contrast, new build in wealthier nations fell by 0.4%.
  • Coal build has fallen sharply in developing countries. After peaking at 97GW of new capacity built in 2015, coal additions slipped to 48GW in 2017. New coal in India has crashed from 17GW per year 2012-16 to 4GW in 2017, suggesting the country is plotting a lower- carbon course to expand energy access.
  • Developing countries are driving down clean energy costs, making these technologies more competitive with fossil generation. Over 35 emerging markets have held reverse auctions for clean power-delivery contracts to date, including Mexico ($21/MWh for PV) and India ($41/MWh; wind), procuring 140GW vs. 41GW in OECD countries. BNEF’s estimated levelized cost of electricity for wind and solar is below $50 for many developing nations.
  • Clean energy investment is being deployed in more nations than ever. As of year-end 2017, 54 developing countries had recorded investment in at least one utility-scale wind farm and 76 countries had received financing for solar projects. That’s up from 20 and 3, respectively, a decade ago.

Click for the complete report climatescope-2018-report-en

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New MNRE Guidelines for Solar Manufacturers to Keep Project Quality in Check

MNRE Introduces Battery Energy Storage System in its Quality Control Order 2017

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued a set of guidelines to be followed by solar manufacturers for models of modules that will be utilized in government-owned projects and those set up for the sale of electricity to the government.

The issuance of these guidelines is the next step in a process that began in 2018 to ensure quality solar photovoltaic (PV) projects.

Dhruv Sharma of the Indian Solar Manufacturers Association (ISMA) commented on the MNRE notice saying, “The MNRE is concerned with standardization of cells and modules. This is a welcome move as the integrity of products is important. There are so many factories and companies that use sub-standard material to make cells and modules. There have been many instances where the actual power generation has been lower than the projected by unacceptable margins. This will put a check on it all.”

In October 2018, the MNRE issued an order to enlist eligible models and manufacturers of solar modules and published a list called the ‘Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM).’ In January 2019, the MNRE issued a notification stating that “After March 31, 2020, all government-owned solar projects and others set up for the sale of electricity to the government will be required to procure components from these enlisted vendors.”

The MNRE has determined the fees to be paid by aspiring applicants. The application fee for one model of the module will be ₹5,000 (~$73)/MW of the total installed manufacturing capacity for solar PV modules and ₹5,000 (~$73)/MW of the total installed manufacturing capacity for solar PV cells.

In case the application consists of multiple models, an applicant must pay an additional 10 percent for each model. In case, an applicant is already enlisted, for a particular model of solar PV module/cell and applies for the enlistment of another model of solar PV module/cell, then the application fee for such additional models will be 10 percent of the prevailing normal application fee.

In addition to the application fees, the applicant is also required to pay the charges for the inspection of the premises, covering the cost of travel, accommodation, and other allowances, for the both domestic and international trip by the inspection team. The inspection fee will be payable before the actual inspection, as and when informed by the ALMM Cell to the applicant.

For the inspection of each additional site of a manufacturer in the same country, 50 percent of the fee needs to be paid. For the inspection of sites of the same manufacturer in different countries, the entire fee for each country needs to be paid separately.

For units located in non-south Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries, an inspection fee of ₹3 million (~$43,366) will be charged regardless of the capacity of the manufacturing unit. For units of up to 100 MW in SAARC countries, an inspection fee of ₹500,000 (~$7,253) will be charged. Moreover, for units of capacity more than 100 MW and up to 250 MW, the inspection fee will be ₹1 million (~$14,505), and for units of capacity more than 250 MW the inspection fee will be ₹1.5 million (~$21,758).

Enlisted models and manufacturers will be subjected to random quality checks, including inspection of manufacturing premises and in case of any failure or non-compliance by the enlisted manufacturer, they will be removed from the ALMM.

The enlistment will be valid for two years from the date of enlistment and can be renewed later. Manufacturers interested in the renewal of enlistment will have to pay a renewal fee which will be 50 percent of the prevailing application fee.

When contacted, a government official told Mercom, “In the past, there have been complaints regarding the dubious nature of products being utilized in developing solar PV projects. This order will ensure that quality products (modules, cells, etc.) are utilized in project development. We are inspecting at the source. If vendors are not registered with us in the ALMM list, then the developers, EPC firms know not to approach them.”

The government official further said, “The timeline of order is such that within the next two years it will help in setting up indigenous production units for polysilicon, ingots, wafers, cells.”

This development is likely to boost both the quality of solar projects in India and the domestic solar manufacturing market. Recently, the MNRE issued an order stating that for the grid-connected solar PV projects developed by central ministries, departments, and central public sector undertakings, preference is to be given to domestically manufactured solar PV modules and other components such as inverters. Of this, solar PV modules have to be 100 percent locally manufactured, and inverters have to be at least 40 percent locally manufactured. Under the decentralized solar power category, the requirement of local content in solar street lights, solar home lighting systems, solar power packs/microgrid, solar water pumps, inverters, batteries, and any other solar PV balance of the system is 70 percent.

In the global solar industry, testing is usually conducted by recognized independent testing labs. This is a rare instance where the government officials will conduct the testing themselves.

*Updated according to MNRE corrigendum

Source: Mercom

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India slaps anti-dumping duties on solar EVA sheets

The DGTR — a unit of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry — has concluded that the imposition of a duty is required to offset the injury caused by imports of solar ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) sheets from China, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Thailand. However, it terminated its investigation into South Korean manufacturers after determining that the volume of imports from the investigation was insignificant, according to India’s Ministry of Finance.

Notably, the DGTR initiated its investigation in response to Mumbai-based solar manufacturer RenewSys’ petition for anti-dumping duties to be applied to solar EVA sheet imports from East Asia.  The findings convinced the authorities to apply a tariff of $537 to $1,559/metric ton.

A tariff of $1,529/MT has been applied to products from Thailand, apart from those manufactured by a single manufacturer that was given a $1,141 rate.

All Malaysian imports face a $953/MT levy and four different rates were set for Chinese products. Hangzhou First Applied Material products face a $665/MT tariff, Changzhou Sveck PV New Material will see $590/MT added to its shipments, and Changzhou Bbetter Century Film Technologies will be hit with a tariff of $537/MT. All other Chinese suppliers of EVA sheets will face an $897 charge.

EVA sheets are a polymer-based component used in the production of PV modules. They are used to seal in solar cells by supplying adhesive and cushioning functions. The sheets are an essential component to keep glass, cells and backsheets integrated, while supporting modules throughout their service lifetimes.

Source: PV Magazine

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Maharashtra Exempts Agencies from Scheduling and Forecasting Charges for Solar and Wind

The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has exempted renewable energy qualified coordinating agencies (QCAs) for meter reading, data collection, and communication from paying scheduling and forecasting charges. However, the initial corpus that QCAs must deposit remains unchanged.

According to the MERC, this commercial arrangement will come into effect from July 1, 2019.

The commission has issued the new order exempting scheduling and forecasting charges after the Maharashtra State Load Dispatch Centre (MSLDC) submitted the minutes of the meeting with stakeholders where the project developers had raised questions on the high QCA charges.

While examining the submission made by MSLDC, the commission observed that renewable power being infirm, there would be a number of revisions in the schedule for a pooling substation to minimize the deviation between the scheduled generation and the actual generation.

Therefore, the MERC has now revised the charges.

Initially, the QCAs had been asked to deposit ₹25,000 (~$357.6)/MW as a corpus for solar and ₹50,000 (~$715.6)/MW for wind projects. Mercom had reported back then how Maharashtra was behind when it came to meeting renewable purchase obligation (RPO), and these new added costs could inhibit large-scale project development.

At that time, QCAs were asked to pay ₹2,250 (~$32)/day as scheduling charges and the same amount as the revision in schedules. Even now, the QCA will be required to deposit ₹25,000 (~$357.6)/MW as a corpus for solar and ₹50,000 (~$715.6)/MW for wind projects, but there will be no scheduling and revision in the schedule charges.

Initially, stakeholders had expressed their concern about not being a part of the consultative process when the order was being formulated. Now, the MSLDC and MERC appear to have settled the issue by accommodating certain changes proposed by the renewable energy project developers.

Source: Mercom

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Tamil Nadu Solar Policy 2019

 

Tami Nadu SOLAR POLICY 2019

Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency announced the final Tamil Nadu solar energy policy 2019. The policy intends to include solar energy in demand side management, energy conservation, energy efficiency, smart grids etc.the policy also talks about encouraging public-private partnerships, joint ventures etc. to accelerate solar energy projects, manufacturing facilities, and R&D.

  • Tamil Nadu intends to have an installed capacity of 9,000 MW by 2023, of which 40% is intended to come from rooftop solar plants.
  • The policy is applicable to both utility & consumer category systems.

Utility category: where the objective is sales of solar energy to a distribution licensee or a third party or self-consumption at a remote location (wheeling). For these systems, the grid connection is through a dedicated gross metering interface.

Consumer category systems: where the objective is self-consumption of solar energy and export of surplus energy to the grid. For these systems, the grid connection is through a consumer service connection of a distribution licensee.

  • The tariffs will be based on market-based competitive bidding & net feed-in tariff decided by TNERC time to time.
  • TNERC may introduce Time of Day (TOD) solar energy Feed-in tariffs to encourage solar energy producers & solar energy storage operators to feed energy into the grid when the energy demand is high.

Types of solar plant models:

  • Upfront ownership: The purchaser of the solar system pays the supplier for the capital cost and takes ownership of the solar system.
  • Deferred ownership: The solar system is installed and operated by the supplier. The purchaser makes system performance-based payments to the supplier or leases the system from the supplier. System ownership is transferred to the purchaser on a mutually agreed date or is triggered by a mutually agreed event.

Incentives:

  • Rooftop solar plants will be exempted from electricity-tax for two years from the date of the policy.
  • Solar energy injected into the grid of the distribution licensee by solar energy producers who have no renewable energy purchase obligations (non-obligated entities), including the solar energy export by non-obligated electricity consumers, can be claimed by the distribution licensee towards the fulfillment of their Renewable Energy Purchase Obligations (RPO).
  • The government will provide land for the development of solar system manufacturing components in the state, components like solar cells, inverters, mounting structures, and batteries etc.

Grid connectivity and Energy evacuation:

  • For consumer category solar PV systems, the system capacity at the service connection point shall not exceed 100% of the sanctioned load of the service connection.
  • For high tension consumers, open access regulations of TNERC will apply, subject to the conditions imposed by SLDC. However, wheeling for less than 1 MW shall not be allowed.

TEDA and TANGEDCO will be the leading government agencies in implementing the new solar policy in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Source: Reconnect
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Centre offers 50 paise/unit support for solar projects using locally produced equipment

The Centre has offered a viability gap support of ₹70 lakh per MegaWatt (MW) for solar projects that will be built using domestically sourced cells and modules. This support will be implemented through the Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) Scheme Phase-ll.

“This works out to a support of around 50 paise per unit for the projects bid out by public sector undertakings (PSUs). Under the scheme, PSU companies (like NTPC, NHPC or NLC) will first compete on the quantum of Viability Gas Funding (VGF) support. They will have to implement a solar power project that uses only domestically produced cells and modules,” a senior MNRE official told BusinessLine.

Under the scheme approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs recently, the Centre aims to set up 12,000-MW grid-connected Solar Photovoltaic (PV) power projects by the government producers. A VGF support of ₹8,580 crore for self-use or use by Government or Government entities, both Central and State Governments has been approved for the same.

“After this, these projects will be offered by the PSUs to engineering procurement construction contractors. The PSUs may also proceed to source domestically produced cells and modules for developing the project. This VGF is subject to a tariff cap of ₹3.50 a unit on the power sold by the PSUs from these projects,” he said.

“The bids for first project for the scheme will be finalised this year,” the official added.

Under the earlier scheme, VGF for projects that used domestically sourced cells and modules was ₹1 crore per MW. For projects where domestically produced modules are used, the VGF was fixed at ₹50 lakh per MW.

“The revised quantum of support has been calculated based on the difference between the price of domestically produced cells and modules and imported ones,” the official said.

According to the Indian Solar Manufacturers Association, the installed domestic solar cell manufacturing capacity of the country is 3 GW while the installed Solar PV modules capacity is 9 GW.

“Currently the primary components for domestic manufacturing of cells, the wafers, are imported. Essentially there is a 40 per cent value addition to the imported product that takes place in India. The price between the imported solar cells and domestic cells has also narrowed so the present VGF offered is optimum,” an official at a private solar power project developer said.

The projects will be developed through PSUs in four years, from 2019-2020 to 2022-2023.

Source: Hindu Business Line

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Ensuring Performance and Safety of Rooftop Solar PV Projects

By Dwipen Borah
The fast scaling up of the grid connected PV market in India has created an unhealthy competition among project developers, construction companies, equipment suppliers and service providers. This unfortunately, results in the compromise of quality standards in – project design, selection of equipments and balance of system, installation and even O&M practice in many instances. A large number of solar power plants have been reported to show poor performance due to known or unknown reasons. Apart from that a number of solar power plants are damaged by storms and gutted into fire. In this note we are discussing performance and safety issues of grid connected rooftop PV projects. 

Figure 1: Performance variation in 30 different rooftop PV Plants in the same geographical area

What determines PV power plant performance?

PV systems are generally exposed to a variety of losses due to environmental factors, device limits and manufacturing defects. Such losses include – soiling, shading, manufacturer’s tolerance, temperature, voltage drop, inverter efficiency, orientation and tilt angle of the module(s), degradation of the solar module(s) and any other location specific factors that could have an impact on the plant’s performance. Favourable solar radiation and the best of equipment cannot alone perform well if the system is not designed, installed and maintained appropriately.

Though there are many factors responsible for the under-performance of a PV power plant, this note discusses the following key issues in regards to performance and safety of rooftop PV projects.

Accurate site assessment and planning:

The site parameters that influence performance and reliability of a PV system are – access to solar radiation, near shadow and far shadow, ambient temperature, air flow and ventilation, basic wind speed, height of building, terrain, orientation, dust level and pollution, salinity, humidity, extreme weather conditions etc. A number of parameters are likely to be variable from one site to another even in the same geographical area. Therefore, it is crucial to plan a solar PV project to suit the site parameters, and also to select the right components and customising the design accordingly to ensure better performance and safety. An inaccurate site assessment will lead to wrong design and installation and poor maintenance of a PV system, which eventually follows into poor performance and unreliable system functioning.

Selection of inverter and system design:

A well-designed/installed grid-connected PV system should have fault free operation for many years. Poor system design can result in the PV array operating at voltages outside the inverter voltage window and consequent disconnection of the inverter from the grid for long durations of time. Poor system design in relation to the PV array and inverter, also forces the inverter to operate very inefficiently. In many cases, the owner has been given a prediction of unrealistically high energy yield from their PV system.

Shadow analysis at site and string management:

It is highly essential for shadows to not be cast on the array by structures, trees, chimneys, fences, and other objects between the hours of best insolation. The site specific output from the PV array can only be accurately calculated once the actual solar access is known for the installation site. However, energy loss due to the effect of any shadow is not proportionate to the array area covered under the shadow. When a PV module is partially shaded, the use of bypass diodes in the modules will ensure optimum output from the PV under shaded conditions, However, the maximum power point voltage in the string will decrease. Thus, the design of the PV array strings must ensure that the maximum power point voltage will not drop outside the inverter voltage window when the modules in the string are shaded. Hence, when the effect of partial shadow is unavoidable, selection of an appropriate inverter and placement of module strings according to shadow coverage is critical to enhance the performance of any rooftop PV system.

Figure 2: Selection of right inverter type and placement of modules string can substantially reduce shadow loss

Module cleaning and access to maintenance:

Build-up of dirt on the array can substantially affect system performance. It is essential to clean the modules regularly to maximize energy output from a solar power plant. However, wrong cleaning practices and low-quality water used with inappropriate cleaning means may damage the modules and other array components, lowering system performance as well. It is also essential to train the cleaning personnel on proper cleaning methods and use of appropriate cleaning tools. Cleaning procedures must be based on module manufacturer’s instructions, site conditions, quality of water and adopted cleaning mechanism. It is often seen that PV arrays are not even accessible to carry out cleaning processes on, and it may so happen that one has to step onto the modules during cleaning and maintenance work. While inaccessibility keeps the modules from being cleaned, producing less energy; stepping on them gives way to the development of micro cracks, damaging the modules.

Figure 3: Keeping the modules clean and adopting correct cleaning practice is key to better performance of solar power plant

Safety from wind loading:

Structure failure is a very commonly rising complication in Indian solar projects. In many cases, the structure may not fail as such, but the PV modules are damaged due to high stress or deflection developed in the structure which is often wrongly designed and installed. The main reason for this is inadequate design or wrong design criteria. In many cases structures are conceptualised just to enhance energy generation with no consideration of wind loading. Structural design analysis must include criteria that requires not only protecting the structure from excessive loading but also preventing it from deviating due to permissible deflection and stress on the modules fixed on it. Apart from the strength and loading capacity, an array mounting structure must ensure that the PV array receives optimum solar radiation and reduces temperatures loss by allowing enough air circulation. It is also important to ensure that factors such as structure design, placement, orientation, tilt and shading are aligned with electrical string design and choice of inverter.

Figure 4: PV plant damaged by strong wind

Safety from Fire:

Unlike conventional electrical products, PV modules and wiring do not have an overall enclosure to contain arcs and fires resulting from component or system faults. Grid connected rooftop PV arrays generally operate at 150V – 800V DC voltages, highly capable of sustaining DC arcs. An arc in the PV array can occur due to a faulty or loose connection (series arc), a short circuit due to wrong polarity or failure of insulation (parallel arc). If an arc develops due to a fault in a PV array, it can result in causing significant damage to the array and may also result in damage to adjacent wiring and building structures.

Since PV systems contain a large number of series connections, occurrence of a series arc is very common, which may be due to loose connections and poor quality/mismatch of connectors. Parallel arcs are a result of short circuits in the system due to damage of wires or due to connection of wires with wrong polarity. This can cause severe damage to the PV system and building property as well.

Figure 5: Fire from series arc due to loose connection in the module junction box

Conclusion:

Success of a rooftop PV project is defined by the return on investment which is the direct outcome of reliable operation and lifetime performance of the system. In general PV systems are exposed to a variety of losses some due to environmental factors, some due to device limits and others due to manufacturing defects. The losses will include things such as dirt on module, shading, temperature, voltage drop, inverter efficiency, orientation and tilt angle of the module, degradation of solar modules and any other location specific factors that could have impact on the plant performance. But these are not only the factors that determine PV system performance. Favourable solar radiation and best of the equipments cannot alone perform well if the system is not designed or installed in a technically competent way. Project managers and design engineers must identify the critical site parameters carefully, assess the long term impact on the system and consider them in the design process to build sustainable and profitable solar PV project.

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