China border stand-off may impact solar module imports

The solar industry is abuzz with news that the Centre will soon announce a ‘safeguard duty’ on solar modules imported from China. Sources in the industry noted that the move could also serve as a means of hinting to the Chinese, India’s arsenal of economic response to the border stand-off.

‘Surge’ in imports
Industry sources said the government prefers the safeguard duty over the anti-dumping duty because, for the anti-dumping levy, the government would first have to prove dumping or sale below manufacturing costs. Safeguard duty, in contrast, is the levy that the World Trade Organisation rules allow a country to impose on imports when there is a sudden surge in imports from a country. Imports of solar modules from China is a classic case of ‘surge’. In the five years between 2012-13 and 2016-17, when India’s solar module imports rose four times, imports from China increased seven times. Also, the share of solar modules in India’s total imports from China increased during the period, from just 0.75 percent in 2012-13 to 4.60 percent last year. Anand Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, told Business Line that the government is determined to do everything possible to support the domestic industry, but did not wish to comment on specific measures. He said a safeguard duty was one of the options with the government. However, one industry source said the Centre’s reasoning was that even if solar power cost would increase 30-40 paise due to the safeguard duty, it wouldn’t matter much — after all, solar power today costs so low that the rise would not affect its competitiveness. Narendra Surana, Managing Director, Surana Solar, a solar module manufacturer, said the domestic solar manufacturing industry badly needs a breather. He said the workforce in his company had been cut to a fourth of its size in the last one year.

Pranav Mehta, Chairman of Solar Energy Association of Gujarat, said the industry is not asking for protection, but a level playing field. “Inflow of cheap modules, supported by (Chinese) government subsidies, has harmed the Indian module-manufacturing sector in the past five years,” said Gyanesh Chaudhary, Managing Director and CEO, Vikram Solar, one of India’s leading module makers.

Indian companies are small in terms of manufacturing capacity, but they have to compete with Chinese companies such as Trina, JA Solar, and Yingli, which have huge capacities — around 5GW worth of modules. Vikram Solar, however, wants the government to impose the safeguard duty only on imported modules and not imported cells. (Cells are used to make modules, and Indian companies typically import cells and make modules.) India has a cell-manufacturing capacity of 1.7GW, but the module-making capacity is about 7.5GW, Choudhary said.

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NEXTracker Achieves 1 GW of Solar Tracker Sales in India

Today, NEXTracker™, a Flex company, announced that it has sold over 1 gigawatt (GW) of solar trackers to utility-scale power plants in India. This milestone illustrates the significant demand for smart tracking systems as the large-scale solar power industry continues to mature in India. NEXTracker’s success in the region is rooted in its proven high-quality design, reliable performance, and an exceptional level of service and relationship-building with local and international partners.

“We are appreciative to be partnering on over 1 GW of solar power plants with many of India’s leading renewable energy firms,” stated NEXTracker CEO Dan Shugar. “We have designed the most flexible single-axis tracker to fit a wide range of project attributes in India such as property shape and size, terrain profile, voltage, and wind speed. We have significantly invested and grown our Hyderabad team, and have adapted our product for local conditions, supporting dozens of projects that are under present construction.”

NEXTracker’s projects commissioned or under construction with Sterling & Wilson, Adani Green Energy, SkyPower, CleanMax Solar, Suzlon, and ReNew Power are milestones that demonstrate the rapidly growing adoption of solar trackers in India. Notable projects and awards include the largest solar plant in the state of Punjab (100 MW), installed by Adani and seven SkyPower projects totaling 400 MW, both utilizing NEXTracker’s NX Horizon™ trackers. Last month, NEXTracker also announced its intent to increase its local steel content percentage to over 80% by volume and weight of its final product in India. This strategic localization of steel pipe manufacturing will reduce shipment time as much as 50%.

“NEXTracker’s achievement of over 1 gigawatt of solar trackers sold in India is impressive,” exclaims Pranav Mehta,

Chairman of the National Solar Energy Federation of India. “The Company’s cutting-edge technology is quenching India’s thirst for innovative solar technologies and on behalf of the National Solar Energy Federation of India, we celebrate this milestone and NEXTracker for helping advance India with clean, renewable energy generation.”

Economic growth, increasing prosperity, a growing rate of urbanization and rising per capita energy consumption has led to increased demand for energy in India. The Country is expected to account for 14% of global solar PV demand[1] as the government continues to push for a very ambitious installed capacity target of 100 gigawatts by 2022 as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s National Solar Mission.

NEXTracker’s single-axis solar tracker, NX Horizon, embodies smart engineering with independent rows – each driven by its own self-powered motor drive and controller – eliminating mechanical links and trenched power cables. NX Horizon features fully sealed motors and gears, essential for dusty conditions, and critical components such as motors, drives, and controllers are all 1M or more above ground. The intelligent tracking system integrates with powerful SCADA tools to increase performance and reduce operating cost. Powerware Academy, NEXTracker’s installation training program, educates solar installers about the fundamentals of design and installation of NEXTracker’s unique solar tracker technology.

About NEXTracker
NEXTracker, a Flex company, advances the power plant of the future with solar tracker and energy storage innovations to increase performance and reduce costs for power plants of all sizes. As the #1 tracker supplier worldwide with over 8 GW delivered, NEXTracker is globally recognized for delivering the most advanced photovoltaic solutions for hundreds of projects across five continents. Headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Company has offices in China, India, Spain, Latin America, and Australia. For more information, visit: NEXTracker.com and follow the Company on Twitter @NEXTracker.

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NSEFI Takes Indian Delegation to SNEC 2017 with EQMag Editor

With India getting increasing attention world wide in the field of solar energy, as many as five NSEFI members have been invited as Speakers at the world famous SNEC event taking place at Shanghai, China April 17 – 21. Apart from NSEFI Chief Pranav Mehta who will speak during the Conference Opening ceremony along with solar biggies like Bruce Douglas, Chairman, Global Solar Council and COO, Solar Power Europe, Chairman Gong Shan Zu of GCL, Jifan Gao, Chairman, Trina Solar, Gianni Chianetta, Chairman Italian Solar Association and other world solar leaders, other speakers from NSEFI include Deepak Gupta, Hon. Director General of NSEFI, Kerry Adler, President and CEO, SkyPower Global, Hitesh Doshi, Chairman, Waaree Group and Parag Sharma, COO, ReNEW Power.

Further, Pranav Mehta will lead a 25 member Indian Delegation to this event where NSEFI and Asia Photovoltaic Industry Association will jointly emphasise the importance of international cooperation and working hand in hand with the national governments for solar growth to mitigate the effects of Global Warming and Climate Change with the motto of “Let us join hands to Save the Planet”. Anand Gupta, Editor of EQ Magazine will also be an important part of this Indian Delegation.

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Pranav Mehta Inaugurates 600W Solar Rooftop Syatem at Indo German Energy Forum (IGEF)’s office at New Delhi

Pranav Mehta, Chairman, NSEFI and Co-Chairman, Global Solar Council inaugurated the 600 W mobile plug and save Solar Rooftop system at Indo German Energy Forum (IGEF)’s office at Safdarjang Enclave,New Delhi on Friday 03 March 2017. Speaking on the occasion, he said that with the high deployment of Solar Rooftop in Germany, India has a lot to learn from Germany. Likewise, India offers a large market for German Solar Energy Technologies and emphasised the need for working in synergy between Germany and India with joint ventures and collaborations.

Tobias Winter, Director, Indo-German Energy Forum Support Office said “Germany very much supports Make in India by providing the machines for production in India. The components used in the self consumption system we are inaugurated here today are produced in India or provided by German companies who have joint ventures with Indian partners. It’s a 220 Volts mobile micro inverter system for all Indians that live for rent with a flat roof and who want to start generating there own electricity within days. As with Government of India LED scheme millions of these small residential systems will make the big difference while it is economically viable for each individual consumer.”

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Pranav Mehta receives Life Time Achievement Award for his outstanding contribution to the Indian Solar industry

Pranav R Mehta, the doyen of of Indian solar industry, who is also the Co – Chairman of Washington based Global Solar Council was conferred the Life Time Achievement award at a glittering ceremony by the Hon. Minister of State for MSME, Government of India during the National Vendor Development Program and Solar Expo 2017 at Gujarat’s premier industrial city of Rajkot in western india. The award was given to Shri Mehta for his outstanding contribution to the solar industry’s exponential growth in India which has placed India in the top ten countries in terms solar installed capacity in the world – starting from scratch just a few years ago. Mehta and his associates championed the cause of solar energy way back from the year 2006 when India’s installed capacity was near zero which now stands at an impressive figure of 10,000 MW giving India a pride of place in the world community viewed in the backdrop of Global Warming and Climate Change.

Shri Mehta who is the founder Chairman of National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI) has kept the Indian Flag flying high with his being considered as a leading global solar energy thought leader and invited by the Governments and organizations of Germany, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, China etc and similarly at various solar events during the UN Climate talks at Paris COP 21 and recently at Marrakech, /Morocco COP 22. NSEFI’s slogan and motto has been “Making Solar Energy Affordable for All“ and the dropping solar prices – especially the recent REWA bid of Rs.2.97 per unit (levalised Rs.3.30) is a Dream Come True for Mehta and his associates. Mehta’s firm belief and favourite slogans are “Solar Energy has a large potential for Poverty Alleviation” and “ Solar Energy must move from Class to Mass”

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Quote by Mr.Pranav Mehta, Chairman NSEFI – On Rewa 750 MW Solar Project Bidding Outcome

NSEFI congratulates Mr. Manu Shrivastava and his team for very ably and efficiently planning and conducting this – Globally and nationally important Bid…which everybody was looking forward to as a trend setter…. We should extend all the possible help to the winners to commission these plants in due timelines and demonstrate to the World that India Can and shall do it… Congratulations to all winners from the National Solar Energy Federation of India(NSEFI), New Delhi. Our motto is “Making Solar Energy Affordable for All”. Further, we are proud of our Patron Member Acme Group winning this tough competition Bid…

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Suggestions for the Union Budget 2017 – 18 for Renewable Energy Sector

My suggestions for the Union Budget 2017 – 18 for Renewable Energy Sector are as follows :

1. Increase the New and Renewable Energy – MNRE Budget to double the amount from the present level of around Rs. 9000 Crores to Rs. 18,000 Crores.

2. Accelerated Depreciation for Renewable Energy – especially Solar Energy should continue for a further period of at least 5 years, if national targets are to be achieved.

3. Interest Subvention of at least 6 % across the solar sector i.e. for Solar Manufacturing in India, Solar Developers, Solar Rooftop. For MSME Sector this interest subvention should be 2 % more that is @ 8 %

4. Indigenous Solar Manufacturing should be whole heartedly encouraged to make it Globally competitive and Global Players and JVs to be liberally encouraged to set up their manufacturing plants with the state of art technologies.

Pranav R. Mehta
Chairman,National Solar Energy Federation of India and
Co-Chairman, Global Solar Council

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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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