The Indian government and its companies are thinking of taking up polysilicon manufacturing for solar energy panel production. The two major power Indian PSUs NTPC and BHEL are reportedly planning to set up a Joint Venture which will set up a plant to make polysilicon for 10 GW of solar cells production which would mean a plant with a capacity to produce 30,000 to 40,000 tons of poly. Note the Indian government is trying to get out of industrial production and has recently unveiled a policy where it will privatize a majority of its companies which make a wide variety of consumer and industrial goods.

It makes sense given that these companies have low corporate governance, are highly inefficient, and also major centers of corruption under the control of bureaucrats and politicians. Many of these companies have gone bankrupt due to the extremely poor governance and problems of the rules under which they work. The employees of these companies are generally inefficient, given that they have lifelong job security, and their KPIs are not aligned as per normal practices.  This is one of the key reasons why the Indian PSU stocks have heavily underperformed the overall markets over the last 10 years and trade at low single-digit P/Es.

BHEL is about to go under as it for years failed to change its strategy of producing capital equipment for a dying sector which is thermal power plants. It produces boilers and turbines for the coal sector which now nobody uses. But the company, due to its sheer inertia, has not been able to change and is now flailing at different sunrise sectors without having a clue. NTPC which is one of the world’s largest producers of power also faces a similar situation in the future with its massive fleet of 50 GW of coal-based power plants becoming obsolete due to the rapid rise of solar and wind energy. These companies are trying to enter new areas to keep them relevant but given their institutional issues will in all probability meet the fate of the telecom companies like BSNL. The government should just create the right incentives and allow the private sector to make polysilicon rather than getting into producing on its own. The solar sector is highly dynamic and it may happen in a few years that polysilicon may no longer be used for solar panel production. The massive investment of almost a couple of billion dollars will then go to waste as these companies are not nimble enough to traverse the rapidly changing pathways of solar energy.

Top Indian states with Highest Solar Installed Capacity – March 2020

Dear Readers, like every year we have collated a list of top states in India on the basis of highest rooftop solar installed capacities. I have tried to make the list more informational by adding major events that happened last year. Hope you like it.

10. Telangana

Telangana ranks tenth on the list with an installed rooftop solar energy generation capacity of 90.46 MW as of February 2020. Its total installed solar energy capacity stood at 3,620 MW.  The state ranked amongst the highest in terms of new solar capacity addition in the last couple of years. Telangana suffered some major setbacks on the renewable energy front due to the new Jagan Reddy government coming into power last year.

9. Punjab

Punjab had the ninth-largest installed rooftop solar energy generation capacity of 118.5 MW as of February 2020. however, its total installed solar energy capacity stood at 947 MW.

8. Haryana

Haryana ranks eighth on the list with an installed rooftop solar energy generation capacity of 121 MW as of February 2020. Its total installed solar energy capacity stood at just 252 MW.  Haryana state has allowed 1000 MW of open access solar energy to be set up in the state. But now the state is using red tape to stop the growth of open access solar.

7. Uttar Pradesh

UP ranks seventh on the list with an installed rooftop solar energy generation capacity of 146 MW as of February 2020. Its total installed solar energy capacity stood at 1,095 MW.

6. Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu comes sixth on the list with an installed generation capacity of 156 MW as of February 2020. Its total installed solar energy capacity stood at 3,915 MW.

5. Delhi

Delhi has made a good progress on the rooftop solar energy installations with total rooftop capacity standing at 156MW and a total solar capacity of 165 MW. So most of the solar capacity comes from rooftop installations as the city has sparsely any land left for ground-mounted plants. Delhi aims to generate 2000 MW of solar energy by 2025 and is also trying to lift up rooftop solar power generation. The Renewable Energy Service Company model or RESCO mode as it is popularly known as is expected to generate an aggregated demand of 40 MW.

rooftop india

4. Maharashtra

The central state of Maharashtra ranks fourth on the list with an installed generation capacity of 219 MW as of February 2020. Its total installed solar energy capacity stood at 1,800 MW.  Did you know India’s western city of Pune has the highest rooftop solar installed? But the renewable energy in the state has been currently witnessing a backlash from utilities. The regulator is trying to remove net metering for commercial and industrial consumers.

3. Rajasthan

The Indian Western state of Rajasthan has the third-largest rooftop installed generation capacity of 224 MW as of February 2020. Its total installed solar energy capacity stood at 5,035 MW.  The state has now come out with a new solar energy policy where it has set a target of 30,000 MW by 2025 building upon the 5 GW of existing solar capacity in the state. The state will give out a number of incentives such as relaxations in stamp duty, electricity duty, and transmission and wheeling charges, etc. Besides ultra mega parks, Rajasthan will also support smaller ground-mounted solar plants which will be developed by the private sector. The state will also support the KUSUM scheme under which rural small solar plants and solar pumps will be built out.

2. Karnataka

The southern state of Karnataka ranks second on the list with an installed generation capacity of 233 MW as of February 2020. Its total installed solar energy capacity stood at a whopping 7,278 MW.  However, the rapid growth has led to the Karnataka energy regulator to halt in any new solar power capacity creation for the next three years. The commission in order has said that though the prices of wind and solar power were low, the problem is that while the state can get prices of wind and solar for a low cost, they still have to pay the fixed costs for a thermal power plant which they have contracted to.

1. Gujarat

Gujarat tops the list with the highest rooftop solar installed generation capacity of 469 MW as of February 2020, and a total installed solar energy capacity of 2,886 MW.  Now, Gujarat is set to become the first state in India to use geothermal energy. The Dholera geothermal power plant was expected to be operational in April this year.

Compare the state-wise solar rankings with the earlier years:

2017-18 and 2015-16.

Data from Saur Energy.

A large recent auction of solar projects by the state-owned company SECI resulted in an all-time ever low tariffs of INR 2.36 which is around USD 3 cents per kWh. The 2000 MW tender saw good participation by both local as well as foreign companies. The lowest bid was made by Spain’s Solarpack with other companies such as Renew and Enel also being very near to that price. This new all-time low solar energy price is lower than the earlier lowest solar price by around 4% and shows that the current crisis has not really affected the industry supply chain as such.

Investor interest in India’s renewable energy industry remains extremely strong despite the recent setbacks that were experienced due to policy and regulatory issues faced in Andhra Pradesh as well as some of the supply chain problems due to the COVID crisis. While there has been news that financing challenges for Indian developers have increased and lenders are reluctant to lend to Indian developers, the low prices seen in the recent tender show that is not that much of an issue.

Solar India

Also, read COVID Crisis allows Indian Solar Companies to Opportunistically Rescind on Irrationally bid Contracts

The overall Indian power industry is going through a crisis with collections from consumers being difficult and the overall power demand going down with many industries and commercial establishments being shut. The renewable energy industry has done much better than the thermal coal power generation sector as the must-run status of wind and solar energy plants have ensured that the economics of the renewable energy industry remains robust. The low prices vindicate the strong business case of the solar industry and will help India move forward in its ambitious target of achieving 40% off its overall power generation capacity from renewable energy by 2030.

Power cuts can be very disrupting and interrupt your day-to-day jobs.

So, how do you load your run when power cuts occur?

Equipping your home with inverters is the lifesaver in these cases, and using them can also help be a little lighter on your pockets.

Given the environmental issues surrounding the use of conventional inverters, opting for solar inverters is a better option.

solar inverter

Solar inverters, also referred to as PV inverters, are types of electrical inverters that are designed to transform a DC (direct current) voltage from photovoltaic arrays into alternating current (AC). These currents are then used to power home appliances and some utility grids. These solar inverters are nowadays very common as the electricity costs continue to rise. Also, the solar inverter price is not high, which makes conserving energy for future use feasible. 

Types of Solar Inverter

The critical function of all Solar Inverter types is to prioritize the attached load. In the second priority, the inverter transfers the electricity balance into a battery or a grid. We choose the type of inverter, grid availability, power cut and load measurement as per the situation. You can search for a myriad of options under different solar inverter price online or offline.

Solar inverters are divided into three main types: 

  • On-grid solar inverter

Often known because of the grid-tie, these on-grid inverters are commonly used with on solar grid system. This inverter operates with electricity from the grid or power. An on-grid solar inverter will continue to run the load and send power to the power grid.

These inverters are fully automatic and smart with built-in safeguards that protect the entire solar system from any fault. Since the solar inverter price is reasonable, you can use them in urban and industrial areas where electricity bills are high.

Advantages Disadvantages
Utilization of 100% solar power. Don’t work without a grid.
No limitation of the load. No electricity generation during the power cut.
Export extra electricity to the grid. No battery backup.
Up to 70% subsidy on on-grid solar.
Less space for installation.
  • Off-grid solar inverter

An off-grid solar inverter, also known as a standalone solar inverter, is used in the off-grid solar system. They use solar battery and solar panel to draw DC power and turn it into usable AC power. The off-grid inverter is an independent system where no electricity is available such as in rural areas. The main advantage is that power outages and other technical problems faced by the utility grid will no longer be prevalent as you have your independent power network. You can invest without second thoughts since the solar inverter price is feasible when compared to other options. 

Advantage Disadvantage
Standalone inverter and system. Load limitation
Work even without grid/electricity. It cannot export the electricity to the grid.
No dependency on government electricity. Costly compared to on-grid solar.
Peace of mind with battery backup.
  • Hybrid solar inverter

The hybrid inverter is the combination of an on-grid and off-grid solar inverter. This inverter simultaneously controls the solar panel arrays for storing batteries and power grids. These modern all-in-one inverters are highly versatile and can be used in grid-tie, standalone or backup applications. The solar inverter price is a little bit higher when compared to the other two types. 

Advantage Disadvantage
Stand-alone system. Expensive compare to on-grid and off-grid solar.
It can work without a grid. Limitation of the load.
Store electricity to batteries.
Peace of mind with electricity backup.
Export excess electricity to Govt. grid.

Go Green with Solar Inverters

Receiving no electricity or experiencing power cuts can be bothersome, and you need some backup to supply the electricity in times of need. It is here that an inverter comes to your rescue. With best-in-class consistency and compliance with safety standards, there are reliable brands like Luminous that offer a range of solar inverters in capacities from 1kW to 50 kW. The solar inverter price is cost-effective, especially if there are long power cuts in your city. They come with a fast-charging mode for batteries in a short time when grid power is available. Luminous NXG comes with many built-in safety features. It continually monitors the health of your batteries and protects them against deep discharge, overcharge and short-circuit. Along with intelligent Solar Optimisation Technology – these solar inverters maximize the use of solar energy, charges from mains when required, and saves 1.5-3 units per day. So, don’t wait up and with the fantastic range of solar inverter price, buy the one that suits your requirements.

The Indian financing industry has seen a sharp slowdown since the IL&FS crisis with credit growth slowing down sharply for the overall Indian economy. This has a feedback effect where lower financing leads to lower growth which in turn leads to lower demand for credit. The Indian GDP fell to below 5% and there are signs that the coronavirus will result in the economy not really being able to accelerate growth in the coming quarters.

The Indian solar industry is highly dependent on debt given that solar projects typically see 80% debt which can increase to 85%. Major Indian banks such as SBI have stopped lending to the solar sector as they are seeing a buildup of huge bad debt from the power sector which has a lot of distressed coal-based thermal power plants. The private banks are also not willing to lend too much to the solar sector as the biggest lender to solar projects – Yes Bank is currently on the brink of shutting down due to bad lending decisions. The government is thinking of selling Yes Bank to one of the larger government banks because if Yes Bank fails then it will result in a major adverse domino effect on the overall financing sector as well as the economy. NBFCs which had sharply grown their lending books as the state-owned banks had retreated are also facing issues after the IL&FS crisis.

Also, read about the Banks That Provide Loans For Rooftop Solar Projects In India

Large Indian solar developers are desperately looking to offload assets from their balance sheet to raise liquidity to make payments for their loans as well as generate cash for developing new projects. Mahindra recently sold off its solar assets to Hong Kong based power group CLP India. The ACME group which is one of the top three solar developers also sold its assets to Actis as the company needed to pay debt to the Piramal Group. The Indian solar industry is slowly maturing with the stronger hands getting hold off assets at a good valuation as the lending tide recedes from the industry. CLP which is one of the largest foreign private power groups operating in India had not participated in the solar auctions and its strategy of not bidding too low is paying dividends as it can now buy cherry-picked assets at a lower price from the market.

Solar energy because of its versatile and modular nature can be used in a wide variety of applications, unlike other energy sources that can mostly be used in large centralized power stations and transmit power through a transmission and distribution network. Solar energy is already being used by millions of peoples in the off-grid mode for lighting, heating, cooling, and other purposes. With solar prices falling drastically over 80% in the last decade, more and more applications where solar is being used as a power source.

Solar energy in lighting can be found in solar street lighting where it has become quite popular even with the presence of a grid. Solar lanterns are also quite popular in energy and income poor regions such as Asia and Africa where it can replace fossil fuel-based sources. Solar energy is also starting to be extensively used in agriculture with the usage of solar pumps and small grid-connected plants directly connected to rural substations. Solar energy through CSP solutions also is starting to get some traction in heating and cooling purposes.

solar water pump

Despite the many advances that have been made by solar energy in different types of applications, the direct usage of solar energy in the water sector has not really made much progress. Water scarcity is one of the biggest issues facing mankind today with high rates of groundwater depletion being seen in many countries. High population growth and climate change-induced stresses have led to water becoming a big problem in many countries today. Desalination of seawater is one of the most energy-intensive processes and the usage of solar energy to directly achieve desalination can go a long way in solving the water crisis affecting many regions in the world.

Desalination technology has mostly used electric power and reverse osmosis to achieve its objective. However, the high costs of power and the membrane usage have not really allowed this technology to mature and scale. Now with the rapid advances being made in solar energy, novel solar technologies are being used to solve the water problem. A new “Solar Dome” technology that has been developed in the UK will be used to power a desalination plant in Saudi Arabia’s futuristic “NEOM” city. This Solar Dome will use the concentrating solar thermal technology to be reheated, evaporated, and precipitated as freshwater. This new solar technology is supposed to have a cost that is substantially lower than the traditional desalination process which is currently in vogue. If this technology matures and can achieve the cost objectives it has set out, then it could a long way in solving the issue of water.