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National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI) is an umbrella organization representing solar energy companies active along the whole photovoltaic value chain: project developers, manufacturers, engineering companies, financing institutions, and other stakeholders.

Gujarat leads India in approved capacity of solar parks

The state has so far received approval for three solar parks, which include India’s largest 5,000MW park at Dholera near Ahmedabad, 700MW at Radhanesada and 500MW at Harshad.

New Delhi: Gujarat has emerged has as the top state in terms of approved power generation capacity in various solar parks. Out of the total 26,449MW capacity approved in 45 solar parks in 22 states, Gujarat has received the nod from the Union ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) for developing the maximum 6,200MW capacity spread across three solar parks.

The state has so far received approval for three solar parks, which include India’s largest 5,000MW park at Dholera near Ahmedabad, 700MW at Radhanesada and 500MW at Harshad. Both Radhanesada and Harshad parks are being developed in Banaskantha district.

Gujarat is followed by Rajasthan with the approved capacity of 4,331 across six solar parks and Andhra Pradesh with 4,160MW (four solar parks), states a report prepared by the Union ministry.

Gujarat government has already set the ball rolling for its biggest solar power project in Dholera Special Investment Region (DSIR).

The bids for setting up the first 1,000MW power projects are likely to be invited this month.

“There is a new hope for Gujarat in the wake of the announcement of the new mega solar park at Dholera along with two other parks.

Dholera will be a very good location for the park as the government is giving a lot of importance to the project. However, the government should provide power evacuation facility on the priority basis,” said Pranav Mehta, chairman-elect of the Global Solar Council.

Industry players, however, also opine that invest tor sentiment in solar sector has been adversely affected due to issues such as ambiguity over GST and applicability of safeguard duty to pipeline projects.

“These bottlenecks should be cleared first,” said an industry player.

The speedy execution of these solar projects is likely to help Gujarat improve its position among solar power generating states.

Gujarat was once the top state with the highest installed generation capacity. However, the state has slipped to fifth position with other states racing ahead.

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The Government should offer an incentive to help India achieve solar power target by 2022: LSI

The Government should offer an incentive to help India achieve solar power target by 2022: LSI

Rating agency Crisil had, in its last report, said India will not be able to achieve its ambitious target of generating 100GW solar power by 2022

New Delhi: Sebi approved merchant banker LSI Financial Services feels Indian government should contemplate offering financial stimulus including price incentives and subsidized credit to domestic solar cell and module manufacturers.

The incentives will not only make the country’s module manufacturers globally competitive but also help India achieve its ambitious National Solar Mission target to add 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar power capacity by 2022, the merchant banker’s research arm said in a report. India is the world’s third-largest energy consumer after the US and China with the current solar power capacity at about 24GW.

Rating agency Crisil had, in its last report, said India will not be able to achieve its ambitious target of generating 100GW solar power by 2022. In its report, Crisil’s industry research arm said that in the best-case scenario, the country will touch 78-80 GW, against the current capacity of 21.65 GW. Crisil expects an additional 56-58GW of solar capacity addition between fiscals 2019 and 2023. While this is a vast improvement from the 20GW added during 2014-18, it still falls short of the National Solar Mission target by a fifth.

Institutional and regulatory bottlenecks like the imposition of safeguard duty on solar modules from China and Malaysia, which took effect this month and will continue for two years, is expected to slow capacity addition, the report stated.

Elaborating further, the report said uncertainty regarding the safeguard duty is making developers wary about project viability as the imposition of duties will increase the price of imported solar modules compelling manufacturers to either downsize or exit from the market. Investors and banker confidence will also suffer a setback and quite a few solar projects may get scrapped, the report added.

The government, on July 30, ordered safeguard duty of 25 percent on solar panels and modules imported from China and Malaysia to protect domestic manufacturers and to encourage solar project developers to buy units locally. However, faced with mounting pressure from solar power developers, the duty has been temporarily lifted. About 90 percent of the solar cells and modules used in India are imported from China and Malaysia, according to industry estimates.

Industry experts believe that the safeguard duty will raise capital costs by 15-20 percent. Solar power tariffs in India plunged to a record low of Rs 2.44 per unit in July due to a decline in module prices and improvements in capacity utilization. The declining tariffs have attracted good investments but have raised concerns over the long-term sustainability of the projects.

Source: energy.economictimes.indiatimes

 

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India Imposes 25% Safeguard Duty on Imported Solar Panels from China and Malaysia

This big development comes on the heels of Orissa High Court’s judgment that had put a temporary stay on the imposition of safeguard duty.

The government  has levied safeguard duty of 25 percent on solar imports from China and Malaysia. The Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue) levied the duty based on the final recommendations proposed by the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR).

The safeguard duty of 25 percent on solar modules and cells will be in force from July 30, 2018.

The order issued by Ministry of Finance, GoI, is in spite of the Orissa High Court’s  stay order up to August 20, 2018, put on the safeguard duty proceedings.

Recently, the Orissa High Court put a stay on the implementation of safeguard duty on solar modules and cells. The Orissa High Court was responding to a writ petition filed by solar project developer, ACME Solar.

The Ministry of Finance issued the order of levy of safeguard duty with effect on July 30, 2018, in the Gazette of India (Extraordinary), dated July 30, 2018.

Per the ministry, it has issued the order in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 8B of the Customs Tariff Act, read with rules 12, 14 and 17 of the Customs Tariff (Identification and Assessment of Safeguard Duty) Rules, 1997, after considering the final findings of the DGTR.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the duty will be levied as follows:

  • 25 percent ad valorem (according to value in proportion) minus anti-dumping duty payable, if any, when imported during the period from July 30, 2018 to July 29, 2019 (both days inclusive).
  • 20 percent ad valorem minus anti-dumping duty payable, if any, when imported during the period from July 30, 2019 to January 30, 2020 (both days inclusive).
  • 15 percent ad valorem minus anti-dumping duty payable, if any, when imported during the period from January 30, 2020 to July 29, 2020 (both days inclusive).

The safeguard duty will apply to imports from China PR and Malaysia. The order was signed by Mohit Tewari, Under Secretary, GoI.

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Oxford PV Sets New Record for Perovskite Solar Cells with Efficiency of 27.3%.

This exceeds the 26.7 percent efficiency world record for a single-junction silicon solar cell

Oxford PV, a perovskite solar technology company, announced that it achieved a 27.3 percent conversion efficiency for its 1 cm2 perovskite-silicon tandem solar cell. The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) certified this finding. Prior to this, the best efficiency recorded for a single-junction silicon solar cell in the world was 26.7 percent.

“This result further validates the ability of perovskite to enhance the performance of silicon-based photovoltaics. Continuing to improve the performance of photovoltaics is fundamental for sustaining the growth of solar generated electricity,” said Frank P. Averdung, CEO of Oxford PV.

If the above recent progress is any indication, perovskite technology has raised the hope for its commercial manufacturing in the near future. Oxford PV is already in the process of bringing its technology from the lab to high volume manufacturing. It is producing commercial sized 156 mm x 156 mm perovskite-silicon solar cells for validation at its industrial pilot line in Germany.

adminOxford PV Sets New Record for Perovskite Solar Cells with Efficiency of 27.3%.
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President Elect, GSC talks about new ISA partnership, plans for global solar promotion

In a significant development, two major international solar coalitions – the Global Solar Council (GSC) and the International Solar Alliance (ISA) – signed a MoU for the cooperation and collaboration of solar growth in all ISA-member countries. Pranav Mehta from the GSC talks to pv magazine about the move.
Mr. Pranav Mehta, President Elect, GSC, (left) and Mr. Upendra Tripathy, Interim Director General of ISA after the signing of MoU in Munich, Germany.

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Gujarat to Provide Farmers with Solar Panels to Produce their Own Power

Gujarat government has announced a program called Suryashakti Kisan Yojana (SKY) through which it would provide farmers with solar panels to generate solar power on their lands.

According to the program, a minimum of 5 percent of the total cost of the solar panels must be paid by the farmer and 60 percent of the total cost will be subsidized by the government. The remaining 35 percent will be supported through a loan that can be paid over the next seven years. The rate of loan will vary between 4.5 and 6 percent.

To qualify for this program, a farmer will need a minimum of 10 square for the installation on their land.  A farmer can set up more kW solar panels in the farm but will not get any more subsidy for it.

The feeder used for this power will be known as the SKY feeder, and farmers will get 12-hour power during the day without any low voltage issue. Eight-hour power will be provided at night to other farmers.

The work on the feeder will start on July 2, 2018. The agreement will be in effect for 25 years, and the company responsible will provide free solar panel maintenance service to the farmers for 7 years.

Currently, the project is aimed at 2.6 million farmers with power connections. The solar panels given to them will be higher in capacity than they require so that they can also sell the excess power generated.

“This initiative will not only save power, but water as well, since farmers will lift water only per his need. This will also reduce the dependency on thermal power,” said Vijay Rupani, Chief Minister of Gujarat.

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President Kovind Launches Solar Charkha Mission for Artisans

The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, recently launched the Solar Charkha Mission in New Delhi under which the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) will disburse a subsidy of ₹5.5 billion to the artisans covered under this mission.

The government expects the Solar Charkha Mission to help generate employment in rural areas and contribute to green economy. The mission will cover 50 clusters and every cluster will employ 400 to 2,000 artisans.

The creation of this mission had been initially proposed in the Union Budget provision for Ministry of MSME to harness non-conventional solar energy to further employment generation.

Allocation under Khadi Grant was enhanced significantly from ₹2.65 billion in 2017-18 to ₹4.15 billion.

The products such as towels, bed sheets, pillow covers, duster cloth, produced using solar yarn will be sold to government departments, railways, with the support of KVIC.

Recently, the government also announced that it was preparing to launch the Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) program with an aim to solarize the agricultural sector using solar-powered water pumps and provide solar-powered electricity to rural areas.

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SC decision in ReNew Power case a major positive: Solar industry body

The firm had won the project through competitive bidding in 2015 at a tariff of Rs 5.45 per unit. MPPGCL had issued a termination notice in August 2017.

New Delhi: The latest judgment by Supreme Court that set aside the cancellation of a Power Purchase Agreement signed by Madhya Pradesh government with Renewable energy producer ReNew Power is a shot in the arm for companies, industry body National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI) has said.

The court had also slapped a penalty of Rs 119 million on the company for delaying the commissioning of a 51-Mw solar project in the state by over 210 days. The firm had won the project through competitive bidding in 2015 at a tariff of Rs 5.45 per unit. Madhya Pradesh Power Generation Corporation (MPPGCL) had issued a termination notice in August 2017.

ReNew challenged the decision in the High Court which disallowed the termination. The state government had later moved the apex court. “The Supreme Court has passed a landmark judgment wherein it has upheld the order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court in favor of ReNew Power, which labeled the termination of the contract by MPPGCL as unlawful and arbitrary,” Pranav Mehta, Founder and Chairman of NSEFI said in a statement.

He added that the judgment has come as a shot in the arm for the renewable sector as it is an investment-intensive sector and the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) put in substantial capital investment upfront – to the tune of $1 million per Megawatt of installed capacity.

“In this backdrop, it is imperative that the sanctity of the PPAs signed with various IPPs is maintained. Otherwise, it will dampen the image of India as a preferred investment destination for renewables,” Mehta said.

The renewable energy sector requires Rs 6.6 lakh crore investment over the next five years if India has to achieve its target of 175 Gigawatt (Gw) of renewables by 2022.

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NSEFI Both Happy and Unhappy about Union Budget 2018

“We as NSEFI are both happy and unhappy about Union Budget 2018” said Pranav R Mehta,Chairman NSEFI whilst commenting on Union Budget 2018 announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

“We are happy because one of our main suggestion was for generating electricity using solar panels on farms and farmers supplying surplus electricity after that captive use to the grid wherever the grid is available. Where the grid is yet not available a cluster of farms can form a Mini Grid. This will not only benefit the farmers but the country as a whole by distributed solar generation and equitable growth. In this manner the Farmers will contribute their might to the cause of global warming and climate change” said Mehta

However, we as NSEFI are not very happy because many of our suggestions like electricity supply to be brought in the GST network , zero GST rate for Solar Generation, A comprehensive package for solar Manufacturing in India, Restoration of 80% accelerated Depreciation for industrial, commercial and social institutions categorical statement that Anti dumping Duty, Safeguard Duty – if imposed – not to be applicable to already bid out projects, Incentives for State of Art Battery manufacturing for storage,New schemes for technology upgradation and absence of any substantial measure worth mentioning for solar and Renewable Energy in the Union Budget 2018 are indeed, disappointments.

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Pre – Budget NSEFI Suggestions to Union Government

“In the Union Budget 2018 the Government should re-iterate its strong commitment and push for Renewable Energy with Increased Emphasis on Agricultural Use of Solar”– says NSEFI Chief Pranav R Mehta

NSEFI has already submitted the following suggestions to the Union Government for solar sector growth.

NSEFI Suggestions for Union Budget 2018 – 19

1. Increased Emphasis on Agricultural Use of Solar :

Agricultural use of solar energy should be encouraged with greater emphasis than at present. A separate scheme needs to be evolved whereby farmers not only generate electricity for their own captive use but supply the surplus to the grid through the net metering mechanism. In addition, the use of solar Sheffler and other parabolic dishes for drying applications should be encouraged.

2. Electricity Supply by Solar and RE Companies to be brought in the GST Network :

Electricity Supply by solar and RE companies should be brought in the GST Net with marginal 2 percent rate.

3. GST Rate for Solar Generation plants :

GST Rate for Solar Generation plants, including for solar modules, all Balance of System components for solar use – including inverters, structures, cables, wires, nuts, bolts and services for the same should be reduced to Zero GST Rate.

4. A comprehensive Package for Solar Manufacturing in India :

It has been our long pending demand that there should be a comprehensive package to encourage Solar Manufacturing in India to make Indian solar cells and modules globally competitive both in terms of quality and price. Such a package may include Interest Subvention, Capital Subsidy, Electricity at concessional rates, speedy land acquisition etc.

5. Anti Dumping Duty – if imposed :

If Anti Dumping Duty is to be imposed it should be with prospective effect and should not be made applicable to already bid out and awarded projects.

6. Accelerated Depreciation for an industrial, commercial and social institution to be restored at 80 percent:

Accelerated Depreciation@ 80 percent should be restored for all solar installations, including for Rooftop installations on Commercial and Industrial premises.

7. State of Art Battery Manufacturing to be incentivized :

In view of the anticipated rapid transition to Electrical Vehicles in the country, it will be desirable that large-scale, distributed, State of Art Battery Manufacturing plants consistent with the Prime Minister’s “ Make in India” plans, should be suitably incentivized – with an emphasis on rapid charging Batteries.

8. Some of these measures are already under the consideration of the Govt. of India and should be given a concrete shape by the allocation of proper funds in the Budget.

9. No Import Duty or GST applicability for all the supply items for Solar Manufacturing in India.

10. Skill Development and Employment Generation :

There is further need for increased emphasis on skill development in all areas of Solar development that is for solar plant installation, Manufacturing, Planning, Management, as also Operation and Maintenance.

11. R&D and Technology Demonstration Budget to be generously increased to at least three times the present Budget.

12. New Scheme and Funds for Technology Up gradation and Expansion of Solar Industry :

A suitable scheme for Technology Upgradation and Expansion of Solar Industry should be announced with an initial fund allocation of Rs. 2500 Crores and the unutilized portion of this budgeted amount to be carried forward to the next year.

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