Gujarat which has been a trailblazer in installing solar energy in India has once again shown the way in distributed rooftop solar generation. Note Greenworldinvestor has been constantly advocating that rooftop small solar plants should be given preference over large solar ground mounted farms. Now it seems that Gujarat which has installed a number of solar farms and some innovative solar energy generation projects like the canal solar plant, has also realized this. The state Government has started the big process for giving 25 MW solar power capacity to contractors. The 25 MW capacity will have to be built by the winners by renting rooftops in different cities. The solar power generated can be sold to the state owned electricity distribution utility Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam through a 25 year PPA. Note unlike other state owned companies which are heavily debt laden and poor risk counter-parties, Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam is relatively healthy. The Government has already tried out 2.5 MW of solar power plants in partnership with Sunedison and Azure Power.
The Indian Government is now set to bring out a policy to promote the leasing out of rooftops for buildings of solar arrays by developers and utilities. Note till now India’s solar program has mainly focused on large ground mounted solar plants. Rooftops have been largely ignored even though most countries with large solar capacities have moved on to focus their subsidies on distributed rooftop generation from solar panels..
Note utilizing empty rooftops on buildings makes more sense as it does not require scarce land acquisition and also reduces transmission costs for utilities. The Delhi government too had proposed a program where homeowners could lend their roofs to solar developers before abandoning it. The government of Karnataka is also in the process of identifying large commercial buildings where large solar installations of 100 kw capacity can be built. Note even without subsidies industrial customers are looking to build solar arrays on their roofs to reduce the increasing electricity prices which have reached Rs 10-12/kwh in some parts of the country like Maharashtra.
The five projects are divided into three packages. The first is for putting up a 5 MW plant each in Vadodara and Mehsana. The second is for a 6.5 MW project at Rajkot and a 3.5 MW one at Bhavnagar. The third is for one project of 5 MW at Surat. IFC, the arm of the World Bank that lends and invests in public and private sector projects, is the advisor to Gujarat on this initiative. This is the second time that the government of Gujarat is coming up with projects based on the rent-a-roof concept. The first was a pilot project at Gandhinagar.
Gujarat Leadership in Solar Energy was predicted by us in Nov 2010
Solar Energy in India represents one of the best Energy opportunities in the 21st Century. However the growth at least in the initial stages will be geographically unequal. This is due to the fact that Solar Power requires strong government support and subsidy currently. Without a proactive administration which smooths out the process of setting up a solar plant, growth of solar energy is almost impossible.
Gujarat is one of the most industrially advanced states in the country and has been pushing renewable energy strongly. The state is promoting solar power through both RPS and Feed in Tariffs beside promoting Solar Equipment Manufacturing as well. Here are policies promoting solar power in Gujarat. The Gujarat Government is far ahead of other states in rolling out incentives and subsidies for Green Energy. The State has already received proposals for setting up around 365 MW of Solar Power. Here are some of the incentives. The Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission is the agency responsible for the implementation of the RE policy in the state. The state has already seen giants like Siemens setting up manufacturing plants to leverage the future growth of Clean Energy in the state.
1) RPS Incentive - Power-distribution companies have been asked to source 5% of their energy requirements for 2010-11 from renewable sources (3% in 2009-10). This will increase to 6% in 2011-12 and 7% in 2012-13. Of this, solar will have to account for 0.25%, 0.5% and 1%, respectively.
2) Solar PV Incentive – Solar producers in Gujarat using the PV technology will get Rs 15 per unit for the first 12 years and Rs 5 per unit from year 13 to year 25. By comparison, thermal and hydro cost Rs 4-6 per unit.
3) Solar Thermal Incentive – For solar-thermal producers, GERC has fixed the tariff at Rs 11 per unit for the first 12 years and Rs 4 per unit from year 13 to year 25.
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