Best Practises Handbook on Performance Evaluation, Operations and Maintenance of Solar PV Power Plants in India

A must read for all Solar PV Plant Owners and Operators

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Comprehensive Solar O&M Handbook

 

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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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