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Press Note on Shri Deepak Gupta rejoining NSEFI as Director General

Mr. Deepak Gupta former UPSC Chairman and former MNRE Secretary rejoined National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI) as Hon. Director-General to pursue his old love and passion for solar energy. “We are elated at Gupta Saab rejoining us at this crucial juncture when the country is on a growth trajectory to meet the important national goal of 100,000 MW of solar capacity. His guidance for our policy advocacy role, addressing various challenges in implementation and playing a complementary role with the Central and State Governments in achieving the set solar targets will be of great value”, a beaming NSEFI Chairman Pranav Mehta said at New Delhi.

Shri Deepak Gupta as the then MNRE Secretary presided over the conceptualization and implementation of India’s National Solar Mission Phase – 1, which is the basis for the latest ambitious target of 100,000 MW Solar Capacity with 40,000 MW Solar Rooftop. He was Honorary Director General of the National Solar Energy Federation of India after retiring from MNRE and was Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission, holding this constitutional position from Nov 2014 to September 2016 before returning to his old love for the solar energy sector and rejoining NSEFI after retiring as UPSC Chairman. His book co-authored with Dr.P.C.Maithani “Achieving Universal Energy Access in India: Challenges and Way Forward” has received a wide acclaim.

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Brazil Pavillon Aslo Invited to be the Vice Chairman of Asia Photovoltaic Industries Association (APVIA)

NSEFI Chief Pranav R Mehta has been invited during COP 22 at Marrakech, Morocco to speak on the Indian Solar scenario at the Brazil Pavillon and Participate in the discussion on Solar PV in Brazil and in the World. Shri Mehta who is also the Co-Chairman of the Washington based Global Solar Council an umbrella organization of world solar industry players, formed during the COP 21 climate change Event at Paris last December, will be attending the COP 22 Climate Event coming just on the heels of the world ratifying the Paris Climate Accord, from 11 to 18 November 2016 at Marrakech, Morocco.

In a separate development, Shri Mehta, has been invited as the Vice Chairman of the Asia Photovoltaic Industries Association (APVIA) consisting of China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Bangladesh etc. head quartered at Shanghai China. This will be in addition to his association with the Global Solar Council as Co-Chairman.

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Solar Energy Hotspots

Space scientists have used satellite data to generate a map displaying the country’s most promising sites to harness solar energy, marking “hotspots” in western, central and southern India with abundant sunshine and ideal for investments to expand solar power. The scientists at the Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad, have identified regions in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Chhattisgarh that they say could yield assured solar energy between 2,500-3,500kWhour per square meter per year.

One kWhour is the energy consumed by ten 100-watt bulbs lighted for an hour.

“If these estimates are correct, these regions promise solar energy investors more than double the average (solar) energy available in India,” said Rajinder Kaura, vice-president of the Solar Energy Society of India, an association of solar energy developers and users, who was not associated with the SAC exercise. India has an installed cumulative solar power capacity of about 7,600MW, with the largest contributions from solar energy projects in Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, but the Narendra Modi government has pledged to expand this to 1,00,000MW by 2022.

At the SAC, remote sensing specialist Bimal Bhattacharya and his colleagues used Kalpana-1, a meteorological satellite launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation in 2002, to examine solar radiation over India over a three-year period – 2009 through 2011. Their analysis has helped them mark separate solar energy potential zones with the most promising pockets in western and central India, including Chhattisgarh, followed by areas along the Indo-Gangetic plain where the estimated solar energy potential varies from 2,500-1,500kWhour.”Our map provides solar energy potential estimates for India in higher resolution (detail) than have been available until now,” Bhattacharya told The Telegraph. “We’re hoping they will guide the central and state renewable energy departments and companies investing in solar power.”

The analysis by the SAC team has been accepted for publication in Current Science, a journal published by the Indian Academy of Sciences. Although the SAC-generated map identifies new areas with nearly as much solar energy potential as Gujarat and Rajasthan, industry representatives believe the focus on these two states will persist. “Gujarat and Rajasthan have abundant sunshine and the cost of land there is relatively low,” Kaura said. The solar energy community in India has traditionally relied on a sparse network of 45 solar radiation measuring stations across the country. The Union ministry of new and renewable energy is set up a network of 121 solar radiation resource assessment stations, but even that will remain inadequate.

While current estimates of solar radiation depend on daytime temperature variations, sunshine hours cloud cover, rainfall and humidity observations, these approaches cannot take into account the influences of key atmospheric parameters such as water vapor, ozone, and cloud.”Satellite-based estimates can take into account such atmospheric influences on the radiation,” Bhattacharya said. While solar energy estimates have been available from US satellites, SAC scientists say Isro’s Kalpana-1 satellite provides estimates at a resolution of 8km over India, thus in finer detail than available from foreign satellites.

“A map from the Space Applications Centre could be a new, credible source for data for the solar energy developers’ community in the country,” said Pranav Mehta
, the chairperson of the National Solar Energy Federation, an umbrella body of manufacturers, engineering companies and financial institutions in the solar power business.

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NSEFI Declares Support for Sun Edison, India

In an interview aired by Bloomberg TV National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI) has expressed full confidence that the Sun Edison bankruptcy matter will not impact India’s solar program. Further elaborating the subject NSEFI Chief Pranav R Mehta, who is also Co – Chairman of Global Solar Council stated that :

“Sun Edison India has a strong portfolio of already commissioned solar projects with attractive PPAs and projects under implementation. Their Indian Team is very experienced and capable. With this background, I am sure they will have investors for Indian portfolio and assets”

Sun Edison has been amongst original founding members of NSEFI. “ In India we do not abandon a family member just when he is in trouble. On the contrary we help them out” , Mehta added.

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World Solar Industry Unites for Climate Change

In a matching response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visionary step of forming the International Solar Alliance(ISA), which is essentially a Government initiative, the world solar industry has united to fight climate change. The Global Solar Council (GSC), consisting of various solar associations from around the world, including the world’s largest markets of India, Australia, Brazil, China and other Asian countries, Europe, the Middle East, South America and the United States, was launched at COP 21 climate change events last December at Paris.

India’s well known solar champion and Chairman of the powerful National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI), Pranav R Mehta, was unanimously elected as one of the Co-Chairman of the newly established Global Solar Council at the Paris event in December. The India affiliate office of the Global Solar Council was opened two days ago in New Delhi by John Smirnow, Secretary General of GSC, and Pranav R Mehta, Co-Chairman, in the presence of Shri Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Govt. of India, K.S.Popli, CMD,IREDA and other senior government and solar industry leaders including:

Suman Kumar, Director, Sun Edison; R.W.Ghai of Hindustan Clean Energy; Dr.Annapurna Vancheswari, Sr. Director, TERI; Rakesh Kumar, Director, SECI; Pawan Agrawal, President YES Bank; Sanjeev Gupta, NexGen Financial Services; and NGOs working in the sector.

This history-making event brings together leading solar nations with a successful track record and experience and new and emerging economies. The Global Solar Council is unifying the solar industry at an international level to share best practices, accelerate global market developments and mitigate the disastrous effects of global warming and climate change.

Global Solar Council to Work in Close Cooperation with ISA

This newly established Global Solar Council will work in a complementary manner and in close cooperation with the International Solar Alliance (ISA) announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and will have an affiliated office in New Delhi, amongst similar other global offices.

“Under the leadership of Pranav Mehta and other visionary founders, we will help accelerate the deployment of clean, reliable, emissions-free solar energy worldwide,” said John Smirnow, Secretary General of the Global Solar Council.

“Globally we need to join hands in the area of technology and affordable finance to help accelerate solar adoption, which will ultimately lead to affordable solar energy and mitigation of the adverse effects of global warming and climate change,” added Mr. Mehta.

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Eclipse over solar power in Gujarat

After having lost out its numero uno position to Rajasthan in solar power space, Gujarat seems to have further lagged behind in capacity addition.
The home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been promoting solar energy in a big way, could add only 24 MW of solar power generation capacity from June 2015 to January 2016. As against this, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu added more than 200 MW in the same period.
As per data released by the Union ministry of new and renewable energy, Gujarat added 24 MW of total commissioned capacity (grid connected) to 1024.15 MW as on January 14, 2016, as against 1000.05 MW on May 29, 2015. During the period, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Madhya Pradesh added 216.9 MW, 270.96 MW, and 115 MW respectively.

“In case of Gujarat, the aggression for solar energy is missing. Despite Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) and state government’s decision, even no-objection certificates (NOC) are not being issued to installed projects (both rooftop and off-grid solar power projects) by state discoms such as Uttar Gujarat Vij Company,” said Pranav Mehta, co-chairman, Global Solar Council, an international solar energy body representing 120 solar countries.

Rajasthan, relatively a late entrant in solar power generation, has raced ahead Gujarat. “State after state is getting aggressive for the spread and growth of solar. Rajasthan has reduced open access charges by 50% to attract investment and the policy is yielding results for Rajasthan,” added Mehta, who is also the chairman the chairman of National Solar Energy Federation of India.Experts also complained that new solar power policy is not being implemented properly in Gujarat, whereas states like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh offer better incentives and cheaper land.When contacted, state government officials explained that Gujarat distribution companies are already purchasing more solar power than mandated by electricity regulatory authority to meet their renewable power purchase obligation. Hence, the discoms have no appetite for further solar power consumption, and consequently no fresh agreements are being entered into. The situation will prevail for a year or so till discom’s consumption goes up.

“In case of Gujarat, the aggression for solar energy is missing. Despite Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) and state government’s decision, even no-objection certificates (NOC) are not being issued to installed projects (both roof top and off-grid solar power projects) by state discoms such as Uttar Gujarat Vij Company,” said Pranav Mehta, co-chairman, Global Solar Council, an international solar energy body representing 120 solar countries.Rajasthan, relatively a late entrant in solar power generation, has raced ahead Gujarat. “State after state is getting aggressive for the spread and growth of solar. Rajasthan has reduced open access charges by 50% to attract investment and the policy is yielding results for Rajasthan,” added Mehta, who is also the chairman the chairman of National Solar Energy Federation of India.

Experts also complained that new solar power policy is not being implemented properly in Gujarat, whereas states like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh offer better incentives and cheaper land.When contacted, state government officials explained that Gujarat distribution companies are already purchasing more solar power than mandated by electricity regulatory authority to meet their renewable power purchase obligation. Hence, the discoms have no appetite for further solar power consumption and consequently no fresh agreements are being entered into. The situation will prevail for a year or so till discom’s consumption goes up.

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